As I have remarked previously, the Australians are mad about their coffee – and are willing to pay quite handsomely for it. But what about their lunch? Are they just as mad when it comes to food?
To put this post into perspective, I guess have to start with the “norm” as I have experienced it in the Netherlands. There it is quite common to have bread for lunch – and, being German, I use the word bread in the widest sense possible. We are talking about the square loafs that come pre-cut in plastic bags, have no crust to speak of and can, with minimal force, be condensed into about 2/3rds of their original size. (I’ve had a spoiled bread-upbringing and am missing proper, German bread. Can you tell?)
…getting back to my point. In the Netherlands, a lot of people make themselves bread at home and take it to work to eat. The cantina at the office also heavily favours this staple, by allowing you to by single slices of said brad and two slices of cheese or salami or similar wrapped in plastic foil. And if you want to go for something warm, you can have some ready-made soup or maybe a sausage roll. All in all, not very inspiring.
But how does this compare to Australia? What’s the “norm” here?
Well, as far as I can tell from my colleagues, there is no real norm. I work in an office with a high number of expats and emigrants that have their cultural roots outside of Oz. An, as varied as their backgrounds, as varied are the eating habbits. Quite a few of them bring their own lunch in boxes and use the microwave to heat things up. I see a lot of rice dishes, with the occasional pasta mixed in.
But even for those that get their lunch from one of the eateries outside of the office – and spend the about AU$ 10,- for it – the options available are quite varied. Just in our building alone we have a Taiwanese place that makes pho (a soup), a sushi place, a bakery, a place where you can make your own salads and a cup-cake shop. (Granted, the last one is not really lunch. But if you have a sweet tooth, the place is perfect.) Across the street you can get some really nice, warm dishes (like shepherds pie or creamy pasta) and just a few meters away is a Subway and a McDonalds.
The only common denominator that I could discern is that the bread culture that we have in Germany the Netherlands, where at least one meal of the day is bread with some sort of topping, is not as evident here. Neither for lunch nor for dinner. That probably also explains the absence of the big cheese and sausage sections that you can find in Dutch and German supermarkets.