Bush Tucker in Sydney

Bush tucker in Sydney

Native Australian ingredients are not only tasty, but also hold all manner of healthful properties. Aboriginal communities around the country have been harnessing the properties of Indigenous produce for both food and medicine. Today, ‘bush tucker’ stars on menus in cafes and restaurants across Sydney.

Guests learning about the rich Aboriginal culture of the Gadigal people on a guided tour in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Aboriginal Tour, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

The importance of bush tucker

Flavourful, sustainable and healthy, bush tucker is far more than a specific type of dish, cuisine, ointment or tonic. It’s a key piece of the history of the world’s oldest civilisation. For thousands of years, before the bustling cities and neighbourhoods we know today existed, Aboriginal people hunted and gathered native plants and wildlife to make food and medicine.

Aboriginal Bush Tucker Tour at The Royal Botanic Garden,  Sydney City

Aboriginal Bush Tucker Tour, The Royal Botanic Garden

Bush tucker helped build communities and acted as a sustainable source of food and medicine in Australia for years. And it still can. While Aboriginal art is one great way to learn about the storied history of the Aboriginal people, Sydney's bush tucker experiences also provide a tasty way to experience Indigenous culture.

 

Bush tucker tours

Bush tucker is all around. Warrigal greens (a type of native spinach) grow wild in parks and gardens. Saltbush is found lining beaches. Kangaroos graze in fields (the meat is healthy and sustainable), and marron crouch on ocean floors. You could fill an encyclopedia with the native bounty. 

Aboriginal Bush Tucker Lunch experience at The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney City

Aboriginal Bush Tucker Lunch experience, The Royal Botanic Garden

You can discover just some of the native plant offerings at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden. There is the Aboriginal Bush Tucker Tour which will guide you through the Royal Botanic Gardens and take you through the Cadi Jam Ora – holds a bewildering array of plants traditionally used in food and medicine. You can also settle into an Aboriginal Bush Tucker Lunch experience at the Garden, where you can learn traditional food preparation methods and how you can incorporate bush foods into your everyday recipes.

About 45 minutes' drive northwest of the Sydney CBD, the Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Education Centre is home to a thriving Muru Nursery, where bush tucker plants from around Australia are grown. Join a tour to discover what thrives in different parts of the country. 

Most Indigenous tourism experiences include some aspect of foraging to find and taste bush tucker. Like Guringai Aboriginal Tours, which operates wandering through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in the north – it's home to an array of plant life that the local Aboriginal people have used for centuries. In Western Sydney, Campbelltown City Council runs weekly Bush Explorers walks and workshops that dive into the bush tucker of the native Dharawal people.

The minds behind Kadoo Tours in La Perouse know where to look to find native plants. Discover the land by trying ingredients you find while foraging, and learn about the connection Indigenous Australians had, and still have, with wildlife.

Tour guide showing Port Jackson Figs plant at Kadoo Tours in Pagewood, Sydney East

Kadoo Tours, Pagewood

Bush tucker in Sydney restaurants

The amazing flavours, sustainability and health benefits of bush tucker appeal to chefs and diners alike.

Chef Peter Gilmore, the brains behind Quay at The Rocks and Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House, has long been an advocate for using native produce in his elevated plates. From prime proteins to the grasses and greens that accompany them, there are elements of bush tucker throughout his menus.

Red claw yabbies, cultured cream, lemon jam at Bennelong in Sydney Opera House, Sydney City

Bennelong, Sydney Opera House - Credit: Nikki To - Fink Group

You might enjoy the perfect addition to dishes that feature traditional lime, like the tuna ceviche at Sydney’s modern-Japanese restaurant Saké. Or, enjoy your first taste at The Langham Sydney’s Observatory Lounge, where gin martinis are infused with green ants alongside other native ingredients, including saltbush and lemon myrtle.