SOUTH AUSTRALIAN HAS A TRADITION of opening itself to peculiar food such as orange-skinned bung fritz or bright green square cakes topped with a frog’s head or pies floating in thick green pea soup.
The pie floater is believed to go back to the 1880s and an immigrant from Cornwall, famous for its pasties and its miners who came to Moonta and Wallaroo.
The pie floater was a feature of pie carts –now a global phenomenon called food trucks – that finally disappeared from Adelaide streets in 2007.
Bung fritz is part of South Australia’s German heritage. Smallgoods producer Wintulichs has been making bung fritz since Jacob Wintulich founded the company in Tanunda in the Barossa Valley in 1909. Wintulichs also make the popular German-style mettwurst.
Declared a South Australian icon in 2001, green, chocolate or pink fondant-coated frogs are small sponge cakes with a thin layer of jam, topped with artificial cream, decorated with two tiny eyes and an open-mouth. Balfours has been making the quirky treat since Gordon Balfour travelled to France in 1922 and became inspired by confectionary.
Coorong yellow-eye mullet is unique to South Australia because of its habitat. The waters feeding into the Coorong are in a national park, with little boat traffic and the fish’s main diet is weed or algae.
Adelaide’s version of the jam doughnut is the Kitchener bun. A relic of pre-World War I anti-German sentiment, it was renamed from Berliner to honour Field Marshall Horatio Lord Kitchener.
Acclimatised to some extent to embracing difference, South Australian were able to absorb the food novelties brought by the post-war Europeans migrants. It contributed to the success of chefs such as Hungarian Balaz Varga (Decca’s Restaurant in Melbourne Street, North Adelaide), Roberto Cardone (a founder of the Italian Cibo chain) and Anouar Seneh (Moroccan).