If your knowledge of Australia doesn't extend much beyond Crocodile Dundee, kangaroos and surfing, it's time you head to the East Village, to the Tuck Shop, for an introduction to some traditional Australian fare, the meat pie.
Considered to be somewhat of an iconic dish, the meat pie is a hand-sized savory delicacy that has pastry on the outside and is filled with minced meat and gravy. Many variations of the dish now exist and besides the traditional meat pie; other Tuck Shop options include Vegetable Pies, Thai Green Chook Curry Pies, Lamb Shank and Veg Pies, and Guinness Steak and Mushroom Pies. All pies are made on site using 100% fresh ingredients, so they're always extra tasty.
If you're an Aussie expat that hasn't been home in a while, entering the Tuck Shop may cause nostalgic tears to well in your eyes as you admire the Olivia Newton-John and Kamahl records on the wall and fuss over the tattered game of Test Match while nursing a cold bottle of Coopers beer. That's right, they stock Coopers and Boags and are currently petitioning to get V.B. into the States!
The Tuck Shop is currently open at two locations: 68 E 1st St, and 115 St Mark's Place. Both stores are open seven days a week with the 1st Street store open from 8am Monday to Saturday with breakfast pies available, and both stores serve until 5am on Friday and Saturday nights, making it a good alternative to pizza and hotdogs when you're stumbling home with the drunk munchies.
Besides pies, the Tuck Shop sells another Australian classic food item called the Sausage Roll, a range of side dishes and also some delicious desserts, namely the Lamington (a jam-filled sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconut), and the custard treat known as Vanilla Slice. Chocolate bars, cookies and other groceries that are quintessentially Australian are also available for purchase to take away with you. The Tuck Shop's full menu can be found here.
The Tuck Shop has a friendly and laid-back vibe and it's quite pleasant to sit at the bar and chat to the rugged but affable Aussie pie-men with their exotic accents and good looks and pretend that you're in a faraway land...just another reason to check out the Tuck Shop.
Some of my best memories of Australia involve purchasing, eating, and finding the next meatpie. I'm a veg-head now but I still remember fondly my days of lazing on Coogee Beach and pondering whether to have the cheesy-taco meatpie or the steak and gravy!! Best times ever!