So what is this Pie Floater??? – A take on South Aussie cuisine

7 Mar

We couldn’t leave Adelaide without trying some traditional Aussie foods so, based on recommendations from a lot of locals, we headed to the bakery on O’Connell Street in North Adelaide, where we were told we could get a ‘pie floater’. But what is this pie floater? Mr Wikipedia says a pie floater is a meal available in Australia, particularly South Australia. It consists of the traditional Australian style meat pie sitting, usually inverted, in a plate of thick green pea soup. This is typically purchased in the street from pie-carts as a late evening meal (read ‘after-party-treat’). In 2003, the pie floater was recognised as a South Australian Heritage Icon by the National Trust of Australia.

So what do you think so far? To us it honestly didn’t sound appealing, and it certainly didn’t look appealing, but we were willing to give it a try in the hope it would taste appealing. IT. DID. NOT. HAPPEN. Unfortunately, the pie floater just tasted of ketchup and soggy pastry. It might be a firm Aussie favourite, but it just didn’t cut the mustard.

If you are unconvinced by our little tasting (watch our hilarious but authentic response here) and would like to try this delicacy yourself this is how to make a pie floater:

  1. Make a bowl of green pea soup
  2. Make or purchase a meat pie (preferably of the beef variety)
  3. Drop the pie into the bowl of green pea soup; try to centre it. Alternatively, place the pie in the bowl upside down and pour the soup over it.
  4. Squirt ketchup (‘tomato sauce’ as the locals call it) all over the pie
  5. Eat it hot, before the pie gets too soggy. Voila!

Next we moved onto baked goods, and tried some popular South Australian cakes (in the spirit of a ‘South Australian cake challenge’ we were given). The challenge was to taste iconic South Aussie cakes (I know what you’re thinking: ‘poor buggers, they had to EAT CAKES!’ :)) and rate them.  The shortlist included a Beliner, a Vanilla Slice, a Kitchener and a Balfour Frog cake. Owen couldn’t resist adding a Nutella chocolate heart to the list too… And how did we go? As both of us have a very sweet tooth the task went down a treat! All of the ‘finalists’ were really delicious so it was quite difficult to pick a winner, but in the end the Berliner (a doughnut filled with jam and covered in icing) came out on top for its jammy, sugary goodness.

Other cuisine we tried whilst in Adelaide included the infamous ‘AB’, a firm favourite with students, which is a nutritious blend of kebab meat, chips, garlic sauce and ketchup on a big tray. There is fierce local rivalry between the kebab shops for the best AB, although we were pretty impressed with the red and white shop’s offerings.

Above all, our favourite part of the South Australian gastronomy was Farmers Union iced coffee. Apparently, South Australia is one of the only places in the world where Coca-Cola isn’t the top selling drink, it is out performed by this delicious iced coffee and we can see why. We were hooked from our very first sip of the creamy goodness, to the point where Owen was averaging at least two/day and noticing prominent withdrawal symptoms if he was deprived. We will miss Farmers Union, and can only hope they decide to export it to the UK very soon.

So how about you peeps? Ever had the pleasure of tasting a pie floater? How did you find it? And if not, would you give it a go?

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3 Responses to “So what is this Pie Floater??? – A take on South Aussie cuisine”

  1. Jeanne Flaman March 8, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    First off I have really enjoyed your blogs they gave us some ideas of what to do here. We arrived in Adelaide February 19th for a month with our son and daughter in law. They moved down here from Canada a little more than a year ago. We have done many of the same things you have done except maybe a few more cellar doors…

    We find that there is so much choice in Adelaide and area we could stay longer and still not get it all done. Our kids still have a list of things to do here. We love your beaches, Cellar Doors, the wonderful gardens and flowering trees, birds in so many colors and the people. We have also discovered the bakeries and Farmers Union iced coffee. Mmm delicious.

    Off to Kangaroo Island tomorrow for the weekend then only a few days left. I know we won’t see it all on this trip but knowing we will come back gives us much to look forward too besides seeing our family again. Thank you Adelaide.

    • getmetoadelaide March 8, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      Hi Jeanne,
      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed your Adelaide experience as much as we had (we’re now back in London; ‘sad face’). I agree a few weeks is definitely not enough time to explore the area and we would have loved to stay a bit longer. But there’s always next time, right? (at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves :))
      Have a great KI trip, please let me know how you found it. Because KI was one of my favourites for sure! 🙂

  2. Jackie Pugh June 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I have been to Adelaide twice now for 3 months each time,I love it and K I was my favourite too! Blinman,Rawnsley park and Melrose in Flinders Ranges and surrounding areas were amazing too! I did Yorke Peninsula this time,its quite strange how things can be so different.I will go back again I’m sure maybe in 3-4 years.

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