Travel Writer; Storyteller

In & Around My Mouth; Australia 

There are too many stories to repeat regarding the venomous creatures that can take human life in a matter of hours in this parched land. Australia is comprised of seven states on a land mass the size of Europe and boasts legends and wonder aplenty. Traveling to five out of seven of those states provided my taste buds a staggering array of flavors and risqué bites.

Brekkie (breakfast), in my experience, was usually simple dishes like avocado on toast, toast with vegemite, a paste actually derived from beer and not my personal favorite or chipped fruit partnered with coffee/tea. Not set to any specific schedule, brekkie would happen at various times in my day depending on my company and/or when I rose to start the day.

Avocado on toast with a poached gee and side of hashbrown

Treats came in the classic form of chocolate or delicious Australian mangos, but also in uniquely created concoctions like fairy bread. Australian mangos are gargantuan, messy and sweet-all the things one would hope to experience while eating a mango! Fairy bread was buttery (mmm) and crunchy and although I am happy to have tried it, once was definitely enough. Quandong, a bush fruit, I tried in a local market in Adelaide and had a tangy flavor and meaty texture.

Infamous Fairy Bread-toasted bread smothered in butter then topped with candy sprinkles
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Sweet Australian mangos
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Quandong is a bush fruit with a tangy taste and grainy texture

Savory bites are in abundance here. Try sinking your teeth into local goat’s cheese, fish & chips or try something a bit more local by tasting the sour yet surprisingly refreshing green ants. Green ants were difficult to put in my mouth let alone chew and swallow but had a refreshing light and almost lemongrass flavor. Bush food was everywhere once I left the East and headed towards the middle of the country into places like Adelaide and Alice Springs. This is primarily because the native Aboriginal people are more present in these parts, but also because more of the Australian bushland exists there. Notorious bush items such as bush grubs managed to escape me, but I can’t pretend I’m not slightly relieved by that fact.

Halumi, goats cheese, is typically served grilled as a side dish or starter
Classic go-to; fish & chips
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Green ants, want some?

Various locally made products roped in my eager taste buds along the way including the brand of chips that have thus far put all other brands (ALL other brands) of chip that I have had, and that’s saying something coming from me. Beverages too! Bundaberg carbonated fruit juices; passionfruit and the lemonade being my favorite flavors. Last and most definitely last in my book is vegemite. I understand this is a polarizing topic and will likely upset many Australian natives, however, Vegemite (and Marmite-the British version for that matter) is a salty flavor this salty mouth is happy to do without.

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Vegemite even comes as a flavored ice cream (Dooley’s Ice Cream)
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Red Rock Deli crisps (chips) are hands down the most amazing with unique flavors and a crunch that can be heard at least a half mile away
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Bundaberg, an Australian family owned brand of carbonated fruit juices

The influx of Asian investors brings with it fusion food and classic Indo-Chinese cuisine. When not tempted by Western classics such as McDonald’s (aptly called Maccas), KFC (which STAYS packed), or the economic default, Dominos, one can really enjoy the switch up in spices and the enchanting aromas of ginger and garlic floating around.

Ayam Goreng; fried chicken smothered in a spicy sauce served with rice and vegetables topped with satay

One has to try the kangaroo, which should not be cooked past medium rare. The meat becomes flavorless and chewy if overcooked. I nibbled a bit of smoked crocodile yet thoroughly enjoyed the Barramundi. This hearty fish is a fluffy and light tasting and is rumored to be the most authentic when purchased or imported from Queensland.

Grilled kangaroo over chips (fries) and a side of salad
Grilled Barramundi-delictable, light fish of choice for locals

What will Meredith San Diego attempt to eat next? Stay tuned to the next In & Around My Mouth post coming soon!

Bag Lady (besides being the title of a great song by one of my favorite female artists) has always been a term of endearment for my style of travel-always carrying too much. Over packing synonymous with my first name. One friend would joke, "if I could hear you coming down the hallway, bag lady!" Another replies with disbelief and hysterical laughter when I proudly proclaim that I successfully packed one 'carry on' sized bag for a two week adventure. Obviously organized, structured and planner are frequent adjectives to describe me. And I genuinely agree unapologetically that these three elements help keep me balanced in life. That is until well...life, or the opposite actually. Consider what it might be like to have the earth shatter from under your feet like a dropped egg plummeting to the ground helpless to its demise, bringing you to an abrupt halt and leaving you in a million pieces from the fall. Yea... that's what it felt like when my Mother, life coach, and best friend in life and all things international travel, took suddenly ill and passed away while I was serving my country overseas in the U.S. Peace Corps. Both my Grandmother and my Mother, the two rocks in my unruly stream of life, taught me that positivity and laughter go a long way. The harsh reality that nothing really goes "according to plan", however, left me ambivalent about what I'm called to be and who I was shaped to be and ultimately pitted my mind against my heart. After I lost her none of the "plans" we'd made were to come to fruition. In the months after her passing I would ask myself some tough questions-as I do- and encounter a profound silence in response. Over time one solitary word would come to me from the saddest place in my heart, GO! So I will.. Now I travel to feel her. To find her in the smiling face of humanity. To keep moving forward with my journey of being a positive change in peoples lives through cross cultural experiences and adventure in places I never thought I'd be inclined to go! Meeting my own travel goals while meeting the truth that time and letting go of all the bags I carry will heal my shattered heart while helping me plant my two feet back on solid ground.

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