For thousands of years the lands that make Kakadu and Arnhem have been used as the hunting and gathering grounds of the Indigenous people. The techniques of hunting and gathering these foods has also been passed down through the generations with the modern custodians teaching visitors not only the traditional way of eating off the land but exploring new opportunities to export these unique flavours around the world.
When visitors come to the Kakadu some staple indigenous foods my come to mind when they explore local food options. Meats comes in a wide variety from the kangaroo, crocodile, buffalo and even magpie geese being on the menu. Kakadu’s flora shouldn’t be left out either with the Kakadu plum, red bush apple, and waterlilies with dozens other edible local plants and animals being available to those brave enough to try. These are our top picks of local foods to try when visiting the Kakadu!
Meat & Fish
The most famous fish of the Kakadu the Barramundi is the sought-after fish for many a fisherman. A staple part of the Kakadu diet traditionally roasted on white hot coals; barramundi is an Indigenous favourite. Most plentiful as the waters of the wet season start to recede creating plentiful feeding grounds for those who know where to look.
One of Kakadu’s ‘main attractions’ these prehistoric reptiles aren’t just for viewing. Crocodile meat is a local delicacy. Smaller crocodiles are the prey for choice being easier to catch of course! Not many want to go up against a tonne worth of reptile. The crocodile intestine however is reserved for elders, filled with croc fat and roasted for a delicious treat.
Magpie geese have been hunted for thousands of years by the Indigenous peoples of Kakadu. Like many meats the open fire with a view of the heavens is the time and tested cooking method. Geese hunting is regulated by parks and wildlife to ensure a stable population for future generations to enjoy.
Fruit & Veg
Kakadu Plum (Bush Plum, Billygoat Plum, Gubinge, Murunga or Kabiny Plum)
The Kakadu plum is an intrinsic part of the Kakadu diet. As Australia’s star ‘superfood’ the Kakadu plum has the highest levels of Vitamin C of fruit in the world. The plum has been harvested for both food and medicinal purposes for thousands of years, with modern twists on preparation the Kakadu plum is making waves on the world stage. Eaten raw the plum is tart with the aroma of stewed apples and pears some saying it closely resembles the English Gooseberry in taste. The plum is present in foods like; jams, preserves, sauce, juice, and ice cream, with the plums inclusion only limited to the creativity of the chef. Be sure to try the fruit when visiting the region.
Red Bush Apple (Andjarduk)
The red bush apple can be eaten both raw or as an ingredient of a more complex dish. Raw the apple has a crunchy texture on the outside and is fluffy on the inside with a tangy flavour not unlike a rosella, a great option to any salad. Cooked the apple can be supplanted for its more prevalent cousins with apple crumble. Other ways to eat the apple include crushed into yogurt and honey adding a more complex flavour to the desserts.
Water Lily (Andem/Lotus Flower)
The Kakadu Water Lily is a singular green leaf upon the water throughout the year shows off a large pink-yellow flower which smells divine. The base ingredient for bush bread the root tuber is ground down to create starchy seeds which is then used to make small bush cakes. Wrapped in the large green leaf the cakes are then baked underground, eaten with Kakadu plum or Red Bush apple spreads the bush bread creates the base of an all local meal.
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