Just what is an Aussie meat pie? We’re glad you asked! They’re Australia’s national culinary icon—the down under equivalent of America’s iconic cheeseburger, England’s fish & chips, Italy’s pizza and Mexico’s taco. Meat pies are a must-have at Aussie football matches, a perfect add-on to pints in a classic pub, and a one-dish-fits-all solution for anyone seeking a hearty lunch or a satisfying dinner. Australians eat an estimated 270 million meat pies annually, the equivalent of every single Aussie citizen, young and old, enjoying 12 pies a year. Our love for the dish begins early, thanks to the long-standing tradition of “lunch order Fridays” at many Aussie public schools. On these special occasions, the local tuck shop (a tuck shop is a deli, cafe or bakery) takes morning orders from schoolchildren and returns in time for lunch, hauling the hot savory pies in their traditional brown paper bags.
Meat pies are a tried-and-true dish, said to have originated in the second century AD in Europe when butchers realized pastry dough served as the perfect means to cook and hold meat. Records of the Middle Ages tell of peddlers hawking meat pies in the streets to people of all classes, from priests to peasants, as well as rulers commissioning cooks to bake large batches for their royal families. The great meat pie tradition reached Australian shores in 1788, around the same time as the First Fleet, the name given to the original 11 ships from England that founded the first European colony in New South Wales. In the early 1800s, when the first steam-powered wheat mill opened in Sydney, the official down under style pie emerged, achieving a new level of deliciousness thanks to the addition of world-class Aussie meats, a protein considered to be in the same class at Japanese Wagyu beef.
Not long thereafter, pie carts could be found on street corners in nearly every Aussie city, as well as in bakeries on main streets of most rural towns. These classic carts were originally horse-drawn trailers featuring a concession-style window, along which customers stood to eat their pies. The Adelaide metropolitan area in South Australia has hosted pie carts daily since the 1870s, many carrying the classic pie companion drink, fresh ginger beer pumped from kegs. By the 1880s the down under style pie tradition was in full swing, with 13 separate pie-cart operators vending near the Adelaide city center. We designed our G’Day Gourmet food truck to be a modernized version of Australia’s classic pie carts and are beyond proud to be sharing our special heritage recipe pies with the world. And if our carts don’t visit your area, fret not, online ordering is available!