What, exactly, is an Australian meat pie? Quite simply stated, it’s a pie… with meat inside.
The most famous purveyor of this Down Under tradition is Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, a van that sits just steps from the wharf in the Sydney neighborhood of Woolloomooloo. Sydney’s “Hopper” tour buses have a stop just steps away, enabling tourists to join the locals in eating what has become an Australian tradition.
Harry’s offers an array of meat-filled pies, including the most traditional of all: lamb. Among other fillings offered are tender, lean steak and nothing but vegetables. The latter sort of defeats the purpose of a meat pie, we suppose, but it’s a tasty option for the non-carnivores among us.
The Australian meat pie may be round, the shape of a half-circle or even square. But regardless of the shape, it’s intended to be hand-held and consumed without utensils. Think of it as the Aussie version of the American hot dog – a satisfying snack to get you through the afternoon.
Most of the pies include gravy, some include mashed potatoes, and many include small portions of veggies such as carrots and peas. And because most are eaten on the fly, the most common beverage consumed with the Aussie meat pie is a soft drink or, simply, water.
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But it should be noted that there are wine options as well. With almost any of the meat versions, an Aussie Shiraz (a.k.a. Syrah) matches beautifully. For the veggie pie, a nice, chilled Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon (or a blend of the two varieties) would be perfect.
For those who want to enjoy a glass of vino with their Harry’s meat pie, plan to arrive at the Sydney airport a few minutes early for your return flight. There’s a Harry’s outpost there.