Many countries have a poutine equivalent, a simple filling fast food dish that tastes better than it looks and is typically eaten after a night of drinking. In Australia (and New Zealand), this is the meat pie.
Now, meat pies are common to many cultures. The Aussie meat pie is not all that different from the tourtière/pâté à la viande Quebecois or the steak pies found in Britain. Although Britain seems to be the common European ancestor, and is certainly the European country where meat pies are most popular today, the meat pie apparently migrated to the British Isles from the continent in the middle ages. Recipes for meat pies can even be found on Mesopotamian clay tablets dating back to 1600 BC.
The Aussie meat pie is typically small, designed to be held in your hand and eaten without utensils. The typical filling is ground meat and thick gravy in flaky puff pastry. Pies are topped with a dollop of ketchup. Other fillings have cropped up over the years.
Pies can be found everywhere. Gas stations and grocery stores (AKA Milk Bars) stock commercial varieties in small convection ovens. Fancier versions can be eaten in pubs. They’re also a popular snack at Aussie Rules footy games, just like hot dogs in the USA.
Aussie pies have started cropping up on other continents lately. If you’re looking for Australian meat pies in Montreal, check out the many varieties at Tourtière Australienne on avenue du Parc near Mont-Royal. Despite the name, the owner is supposedly a Kiwi. They’ve even got a fine selection of Australasian desserts such as lamingtons, custard squares, Tim Tams and ANZAC biscuits. The place has received rave reviews from Aussie expats, and their pies are a definite notch up from the Four N’Twenty varieties I’ve eaten in Australia. Strewth! I almost passed it by because of my personal objections to the English-only menu on the foldout chalkboard outside (get some French on there), but the service inside was pleasantly bilingual. Good on ya, mates!