There is nothing better than enjoying a great meal, and a glass or two of good Australian wine or beer, around a campfire in the WA Outback.We have some great outback cooking items in our shop that can greatly enhance your enjoyment of eating in the outback; and we have some great ideas in this section. So enjoy!
Buying Food in the Outback.
Most outback supermarkets have a reasonable range of supplies; although the freshness and availability of fruit and vegetables may not be up to standard of their city counterparts.This particularly applies to the more remote centres, as they have to rely on limited and expensive transport options. So it's usually best to stock up on perishables such at every opportunity.
The outback produces mighty steaks, and they are generally available, and often also mighty big like the outback itself. Fish like John Dory and the esteemed barramundi are often available inland, as are rabbits, the delicious freshwater crayfish (like yabbies and marron) from the outback dams and waterholes.
Vegetarians may find their options a little limited, though most good roadhouses and pubs will have a vegetarian dish on the menu; such as an outback salad.
The more remote areas find it difficult to get salad items to their areas quickly so they may not be as fresh as they would like. It is a good idea to see what you are buying before you complete the purchase.
Portable fridges or portable ice boxes (esky)
We recommend that those travelling on an extended escape buy, or hire, a good portable fridge (known as an ‘esky’ in most parts of WA).
You have to be super-cautious with fresh fish and poultry, but most other perishables can be kept for a few days in an esky. Ice is often available at service stations, general stores, and pubs. Remember that blocks of ice last longer than cubed ice.
Quarantine is a big issue for Australia - we need to maintain our clean and largely disease free situation as it is very important to our environment and our economy; so please watch out for fruit-fly roadblocks.
Of course this requires some pre-planning as they can deprive you of some of your food stock items. They mostly consist of honesty pits at which you are required to dispose of all fruit and vegetable matter.
Some of them are constantly supervised, and stiff penalties apply for not obeying the rules.
It's great to be able to cook your meal on the coals like a real "bushman", but in reality this is not an option in many parts of the outback and at particular times of the year; particularly conservation areas and popular bush camping grounds.
In some areas open fires are prohibited especially during summer fire-danger periods. The bans also exist to protect wildlife within the area. It is best most of the time to plan to use a gas stove.
When you do cook over an open fire please be very very very careful. Use good quality cast iron or steel pots and a steel grate to put your pots on.
You should use hardwood that will burn down to good coals and then use the coals for cooking rather than the flames. Please don't cook over an open fire at all unless you very well prepared and you are in a safe area where there are no fire warnings.
If you are able to build a safe fire then dig a trench in which to lay your fire. The width and length will depend on your own cooking needs and size of your fire grate, but it should be about 30cm deep.
There are some fabulous Bush Cooking books around and we try to keep a good selection in our shop; we also have a great range of bush cooking devices and utensils.
Country motel restaurants and roadhouses
There are many country motel restaurants, hotels and roadhouses; they provide travellers with a reasonable standard of food at reasonable prices in many cases.
The quality of the food, the range, and the choices available is generally greater in the more populated areas.
Best Western Motel restaurants
Best Western country motel restaurants provide an excellent standard of food at reasonable prices throughout Western Australia. They provide Fly Buys points, which is a bonus if you are interested in loyalty programs.
Many of the WA country motel restaurants tend to close earlier than big city travellers would expect (often by 9pm or even earlier if business is slow). So it is often a good idea to make a reservation for dinner when you book your room or at the latest when you arrive.
If you are likely to be arriving late it is wise to telephone the motel before it gets late, to let them know that you are still coming and that you would like a meal.