A Sprinkle Of Cracked Pepper Sets Australian Battered Calamari Apart From All The Rest

While Australia is a vast country that's known for a variety of landscapes ranging from rainforests to deserts — the latter of which take up 18% of the land mass — the majority of its approximately 25 million inhabitants live along the coastlines, and this means lots of seafood. Australia's variety of seafood is evident at any local restaurant or fish and chips shop, where you will find dishes like flake (gummy shark), blue grenadier, snapper, and flounder, along with other offerings of the sea like calamari and Tasmanian scallops.

A common type of eatery that can be found all over the country is the local pub. As is the case in Britain, Australian consumers have begun to demand more from their pubs than cheap beer and palatable food. According to the Australian Food Timeline, the term gastropub "was coined in the U.K. in 1991 to describe pubs offering something more ambitious than bangers and mash and cottage pie." As pubs crank out higher quality versions of classic greasy eats to attract customers, visitors to Australia will be able to find tasty plates of chicken parmesan, steak sandwiches, and chicken or beef schnitzel (via The Shout). 

Another popular pub pick for Australians is salt and pepper calamari. While breaded and deep-fried squid can be found in many countries, the peppery Australian version stands out for a few reasons.

Salt and pepper calamari was inspired by Chinese cuisine

Visitors to the Great Southern Land might be struck by the vast array of multicultural food available. While plenty of local specialties are iconically Australian, such as Chiko Rolls or Lamingtons, the cuisine on offer is made up of a diverse melting pot of cultures. Australian citizens are considered one of the "most culturally and linguistically diverse populations in the world," with over 20% of the population speaking a language other than English. Salt and pepper calamari can be considered a testament to this multiculturalism.

According to SBS, many people consider the deep-fried squid specialty to be "Australia's national dish." It's inspired by Cantonese-style calamari, which also explains why many recipes contain garlic, red chili, and green onions. While the majority of fried calamari dishes are cut into rings, the Australian style is to cut it in pieces, cross-hatched, battered, and deep-fried. According to Taste.com.au, dry flour is combined with pepper and salt, and the fresh squid is dipped into the mixture before frying for a seasoned, slightly spicy coating.

Upon trying the Australian calamari dish, Insider writer Monica Humphries said she found it to be "more tender" than versions she's tried in the U.S. This could have been for a few reasons. The squid species in Australia are different from those in North America, with the most common type being Gould's squid, found in southern waters. The other possibility is that the seafood was first soaked in lemon or kiwi juice, as recommended by ABC