First Nations-owned cafes and online food stores to support

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·5-min read

From Grilled emu fillet to Wattleseed hot chocolate and non-alcoholic beer infused with native ingredients, the flavours of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cuisine are as delicious and they are varied.

Here's just a taste of the incredible dishes and yummy products First Nations-owned food businesses are serving up around the country.

Mabu Mabu head chef and business owner Nornie Bero, who was originally from Mer Island in the Torres Strait. Photo: supplied.
Mabu Mabu head chef and business owner Nornie Bero, who was originally from Mer Island in the Torres Strait. Photo: supplied.

Cooee Café and Jala Jala Treats

Sharon Brindley is a proud Yamatji/Noongar woman and the owner of Cooee Café, the only Indigenous café on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. There, diners can chow down on yummy fare including Kangaroo Burgers or the café’s popular Lemon Myrtle slice.

Those who are still peckish can peruse the on-site store which stocks a variety of goodies by First Nations-owned food brands including Sharon’s own Jala Jala Treats. From out of town? You can shop their online store.

“My core purpose is to bring people together through food,” Sharon tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“I see food as an integral part of connecting people regardless of their background, culture or religion.

“Incorporating Indigenous ingredients allows Australians to educate themselves on our First Nations Peoples cuisine and allow them to use it in their everyday cooking — bringing the culture alive once more.”

A block of Davidson plum white chocolate from Jala Jala Treats. Photo: supplied.
A block of Davidson plum white chocolate from Jala Jala Treats. Photo: supplied.

Mabu Mabu

Head chef and owner Nornie Bero chose to name her small catering business and cafe in Yarraville, Victoria, ‘Mabu Mabu’ to reflect her Torres Strait heritage. A traditional term meaning “help yourself,” Mabu Mabu catering and cafe is all about showcasing seasonal and native ingredients in drinks, meals and spices.

Yahoo Lifestyle was given the inside scoop on the cafe’s most popular dishes, which are Kangaroo Tail Bourguignon and the Island Fried Poussin, a Torres Strait twist on fried chicken.

Of the products for sale in-store and online, Nornie is said to be most proud of the teas. The range includes Aba's tea, which is named after her grandma, and the Mabu Chai featuring pepperberries and wattleseed.

A traditional Torres Strait dish, Fried poussin at Mabu Mabu. Photo: supplied.
A traditional Torres Strait dish, Fried poussin at Mabu Mabu. Photo: supplied.

Sobah

Sobah is not only proudly Aboriginal-owned and led, but it’s also Australia’s first non-alcoholic craft beer company. Run by husband-wife team Clinton and Lozen Schultz from beautiful Yugambeh country (the Gold Coast, Queensland), Sobah brews are infused with ‘bush tucker’ ingredients that are ideal for sipping on a hot summer afternoon.

Clinton, a Gamilaraay man and psychologist says, “Sobah is more than an excellent tasting non-alcoholic craft beer. Sobah is a lifestyle.” The business promotes health and wellbeing alongside their rich culture.

Choose from flavours such as Finger Lime Cerveza, Pepperberry IPA or Boab + Wild Ginger Lager and skip the hangover the next day. Sobah is available online and at selected stockists.

Sobah is the country's first ever non-alcoholic craft beer. Photo: Instagram/sobahbeverages.
Sobah is the country's first ever non-alcoholic craft beer. Photo: supplied.

Indigiearth

Indigiearth is a one-stop online shop for hundreds of ethically-sourced, premium native foods, candles and skincare products by First Nations-owned businesses.

Add some extra oomph to your next BBQ with a sprinkling of Outback Prairie Dust, a spicy, smoky rub with Tasmanian Pepperleaf and Wild Thyme. Or relax and unwind with a cup of Women’s Business loose leaf tea, a green tea blend featuring Rosella Flowers and the antioxidant-packed Strawberry Gum.

Indigiearth founder, proud Ngemba Weilwan woman Sharon Winsor, also owns and runs the new Warakirri cafe and retail outlet in Mudgee, New South Wales where guests can experience a six-course degustation, native cocktails and traditional song and dance.

indigiearth's Outback Prairie Dust (left) and Women's Business loose leaf tea. Photo: indigiearth.com.au.
indigiearth's Outback Prairie Dust (left) and Women's Business loose leaf tea. Photo: indigiearth.com.au.

Charcoal Lane

It’s no secret that, following a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018, it’s been near-impossible to nab a table at social enterprise restaurant Charcoal Lane in Melbourne’s Fitzroy.

The seasonal, bush-tucker focussed menu is prepared by a team of young First Nations trainees under the guidance of head chef Greg Hampton.

While Charcoal Lane is not First Nations-owned, it runs a hospitality training program for young Aboriginal people who are in need of a fresh start in life.

The program aims to assist trainees in developing ‘vocational skills, accredited qualifications and the personal capacity to successfully transition to sustainable mainstream employment’.

If a reservation is off the cards but you still want to support the Mission Australia-led training program, you can make a donation.

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, look at traditional native Australian ingredients during a visit to Mission Australia social enterprise restaurant, Charcoal Lane, in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day three of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific. (Phil Noble/Pool Photo via AP)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the kitchen at Charcoal Lane on day three of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific in October 2018. Photo: Getty Images.

Street Feast

If you’re a regular at foodie events in Melbourne you may have come across the Street Feast food truck run by owner-operator and proud Ngarigo man Dale Vocale and his wife, Jenni.

The menu is packed with low and slow barbecue favourites such as pulled pork, loaded potatoes and mac 'n' cheese all with a native Australian twist.

Jenni tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the hottest item on the menu right now is Sliders Three Ways which includes a Pulled Pork with whole egg chipotle mayo and fresh slaw, a 24 Hour Cooked Brisket with smokey Street Feast BBQ sauce and a Jamaican Jerk Chicken with green tomato chutney.

Street Feast also provides catering for parties and events such as weddings and recently launched takeaway dinner and grazing boxes.

The yummy food truck fare from Street Feast in Melbourne. Photo: Instagram/streetfeastau.
The yummy food truck fare from Street Feast in Melbourne. Photo: supplied.

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