There are some foods that, no matter how many years have passed, just embody childhood for us.
They’re the classics, the ‘everyone knows ’em’, the ones we find ourselves dreaming about when hunger and nostalgia come together.
So if you’re looking to take a walk down memory lane then strap in, we’ve got the 50 classic foods that are going to bring back your childhood memories. Or, you know, just make you hungry.
1. Streets Viennetta
Strangely artistic in its multiple wave-like layers, Viennetta is basically the world’s fanciest ice cream cake. Pretty much reserved for special occasions, you’d always have a go at unravelling the layers before it melted into a puddle.
The younger generations remain blissfully unaware of this, but before Diet Coke was widely available, we had TaB. Stunning in its pink packaging and oddly tinny favour, TaB started to disappear off the shelves as Diet Coke became synonymous with diet beverages. We still miss it.
Definitely not a fruit juice but not quite a cordial either, Tang was the drink we loved because astronauts drank it. Even though it had been around long before NASA sent it skyward, that claim to fame was pretty much the only thing going for it.
They might have tried to rename them as FADS, but all the Aussie kids knew what they really were. FAGS were pretty much the most politically incorrect product on the market. Lollies that came in a box that looked like a cigarette packet, with the musk stick lollies shaped like cigarettes and with a red tip to look like they were lit. Ah the good ol’ days.
5. Samboy Chips
Pretty much the only chips we were interested in eating, Samboy chips were made famous by their hilarious 1980s ad campaign that saw Samboy eaters flattened by the flavours they so enjoyed. We mourned when Atomic Tomato was discontinued in 2003-2004, only to celebrate its reintroduction years later.
6. Polly Waffle
The Great Australian Waffle Log — what wasn’t to like about the Polly Waffle? It was a marshmallow log, wrapped in wafer and then smothered in milk chocolate, pretty much all winners in our books. Sadly, it was discontinued in 2009 because of poor sales. Not from us that’s for sure!
7. Sherbet Cones
What was it about Sherbet Cones that made them so popular? The cone was always either shockingly dry or disappointedly soggy, there was never enough sherbet inside and the marshmallow sucks. Just kidding. We love ’em.
8. Mello Yello
The name is pretty associated with pee, and there’s no denying that Mello Yello was the thing to get you out of bed in the morning. Highly caffeinated and citrus flavoured, there wasn’t that much ‘mellow’ about this beverage at all. Eventually, it was replaced with the similar, but disappointingly lacking in caffeine, Lift.
9. Tip Top’s Jelly Tip
This was actually a New Zealand treat, but it made its way into Australia and into all of our hearts. Vanilla ice cream, topped with raspberry-flavoured jelly and covered in milk chocolate, it had everything we wanted in a cool treat.
10. Golliwog Biscuits
These biscuits are another politically incorrect product that have been left in the past. Chocolate-flavoured and named after the (then) much-loved characters Golliwogs, the biscuits were renamed Scalliwags before eventually being discontinued all together.
11. Milko Chews
Milko chews and Milko sticks (they came in two sizes) were a solid favourite in the times of our youth, and for many people who came before us. There’s was nothing spectacular about them, but every bite was like one stolen from the condensed milk can. Yummy.
12. Chiko Rolls
Still available, although we don’t know if we’d eat one now, Chiko Rolls were a staple food in our childhood. They contained no chicken, but instead offer a mix of cabbage, barley, carrot, green beans, onion, celery and, of course, beef fat, all wrapped up in an egg and flour pastry. They were specifically made to be eaten by hand, and boy did we eat a lot of them.
This chocolate bar pretty much has it all, and we lived during the time when the tagline was “Chokito gets you going”. It’s got crunchy rice balls, caramel fudge and chocolate, which are all winners in our books. Relaunched in 2010, the packaging and tagline have changed, but it’s still a classic.
An iconic Australian-flavoured ice block with the weirdest shape ever, Sunnyboy was once incredibly popular and a staple in tuck shops, milk bars and corner stores Australia wide. There were a few great flavours, but the drinks aren’t as popular and only three flavours remain in circulation.
15. White Knight Bars
Pretty much the chocolate bar version of the Mint Slice biscuit, White Knight bars were definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. When you opened the packet, you’d find the bar on top of a piece of cardboard with a fictional knight printed on it, and you could bend the base to stand him up. It’s hardly a gift, but we still loved them.
16. Devon/Luncheon/Bologna & Tomato Sauce Sangas
We don’t even want to think about what actually goes into Devon/Luncheon/Bologna (depending on what state you live in) but we were all pretty happy to chow down on the pink meat-like substance. Of course, the best way to enjoy it was with another totally natural and unprocessed product (cough cough) like tomato sauce, on super healthy (cough cough) white bread.
17. Prawn Cocktail
How fancy did we feel when we had a chance to eat (or sneak) prawn cocktails away from the adults table at dinner parties? In reality, there’s nothing overly fancy about cooked and shelled prawns swimming in cocktail sauce on a bed of lettuce, but we didn’t know that.
Semi-hard caramel toffee smothered in chocolate, there was a lot to love about Fantales. Plus it was so easy to convince yourself that you were eating them to further your celebrity education. Deliciously smart!
19. Space Food Sticks
Was there any kid who didn’t love Space Food Sticks? They were literally a food made for astronauts and the coolest thing you could eat on a given day. Of course, we now know they were basically energy sticks marketed to Australian children, but with three yummy flavours, we weren’t complaining.
20. Bertie Beetle
We never realised as children that Bertie Beetle only existed to use up the leftover honeycomb from Violet Crumble. All we knew is that the combination of chocolate and honeycomb bits, along with the fantastic Bertie Beetle showbags we picked up every year, made them a clear favourite.
21. Honey Smacks
A puffed wheat breakfast cereal made by Kellogg’s, we can attest that there is nothing good about Honey Smacks, except they’re surprisingly delicious to children. They’re pretty much 50% sugar, so it should surprise nobody that you won’t find them in Australia any more. But hey, they were the sugar rush we started our day with.
22. Flying Saucers
Wafer on the outside, sherbet on the inside, we had no complaints about flying saucers. In fact, they’re so popular that you’ll still find them in places all over the world, and even at some places in Australia. Perfect for a walk down memory lane.
23. Musk Sticks
We still aren’t really sure why we eat musk sticks. They’re the only lolly, that we know of, which actually tastes like a perfume more than a sweet. But for some reason, that iconic flavour, along with the colour and their general cheapness, made them easy to like for us as kids.
24. Big Boss Candy Sticks
Ah the Big Boss Candy Sticks, an iconic Australian brand for at least 50 years. We know we spent a pretty big chunk of our childhood scoffing down the Dynamite Caramel flavour, although we admit we liked them better when they were called Candy Cigars.
25. Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip
The great thing about the Fun Dips were the sherbets, which were deliciously flavoured and made it hard not to come back for more. The terrible thing was the sticks, which tasted like you grabbed your teacher’s chalk straight of the blackboard and sucked on it.
26. Chicken & Ham Spread
We aren’t really sure who thought Chicken and Ham Spread was a good idea, but for some reason, there were parents out there who seemed to love it. Or perhaps they just relished the cruel and unusual punishment that was feeding this spread to children. We’ll never know.
27. Jelly Cups
Shot-sized hits of jelly in a variety of flavours that somehow tasted incredibly the same, we loved Jelly Cups when we were kids. Plus that delightfully snot-like sucking noise that happened when you hoovered one out of the plastic. Classic.
28. Lolly Bracelets
Lolly bracelets seem like a great idea. Just think, you can access your candy all the time, a sugar hit whenever you want it. But at the end of the day, they always ended up leaving you the same way: covered in drool and candy with ants all over you.
For kids that loved their Ovaltine (a malt milk flavouring), Ovalteenies were the greatest. They were basically Ovaltine you could eat, and because malt was better than chocolate, even some parents considered them appropriate snack foods. Those were the days.
30. Werther’s Original
The lolly you’re pretty much guaranteed to find in your Nana’s purse, Werther’s Original were lollies that tasted of butter. They were butter pretty much, butter and sugar. You didn’t really crave them, but when you had one it was hard to stop.
31. Killer Pythons
Killer Pythons! How powerful we felt as little children when we bit the heads off our wild lolly animals and paraded them around like savages. Of course, we loved to eat them colour-by-colour, saving the best bits for last.
Lattice Cake was a staple in many Australian homes back in the day, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen it on any table. Essentially, a cheesecake sandwiched between Arnott’s lattice biscuits with extra jam, it remains a favourite for us, and a super sweet treat.
33. McCain’s Smiles
McCain’s Potato Smiles were a classic part of many Australian childhoods. Chips shaped like happy faces, they were easy to eat and easy to love. They were discontinued by the company and, despite public outcry over the lack of potato smiles on people’s plates, they have yet to be brought back.
34. Golden Rough
Roasted coconut and chocolate contained in a wheel of deliciousness, the Golden Rough was a tropical treat that almost everyone loved. We haven’t seen one for years now, but apparently, they’re still available in some small supermarkets. Keep your eyes peeled!
35. Toffee Apple Chews
Allen’s Toffee Apple Chews were a staple for us as kids. Of course, they were basically impossible to eat and you spent what felt like hours chewing on them and trying to figure out how to migrate them to the back of your mouth so you could move onto swallowing them. Maybe it’s a good thing you can’t buy them anymore?
36. Butterfly Cupcakes
Plain cupcakes, whipped cream, icing sugar, what’s not to love about Butterfly Cupcakes? Of course, the first time you tried to make them yourself, it just ended up being a sad mess, but now you’ve got the cutting thing down, you can make this magic any time you want.
37. Pop Rocks
There’s something about necking a mouthful of pop rocks and then running around with your mouth open asking people if they can hear them that was a quintessential part of childhood. Of course we have no idea what was in them, but it’s an experience every kid should have.
Sweethearts made their way around every Valentines Day, and still do. They don’t really taste like anything in particular, but they’re printed with super corny and gooey romantic sentiments. We hated them as kids, until we started crushing on our peers. Then we were just trying to find the one that ‘spoke to us’ the most.
39. International Roast
Probably the first coffee you tried, the one that your parents, if they were coffee minimalists, kept in the house. The taste is hard to explain, but we think ‘bitter shit’ is a pretty close attempt. This is one food we’re happy to leave behind, give us a latte any day.
40. Lemon Crisp Biscuits
Cracking open the Lemon Crisps and licking off the lemon cream were just another wonderful food experience of our childhoods. What makes lemon taste so good? We’ll never know, but we’ll always love these things.
41. Neapolitan Ice Cream
Ah Neapolitan Ice Cream, the ice cream that was suited to every family. It was amazing to be able to choose whatever flavour you wanted from the three options, instead of being stuck with one boring flavour until the tub was empty. Of course, someone would always eat your favourite flavour first (chocolate for us) and then you’d have to suffer through the others.
The dessert that’s basically made of coco pops, coconut, sugar and vegetable fats, but we didn’t care. A staple at school fetes, Chocolate Crackles were so easy to make, and just as delicious before being chilled as afterwards.
43. Sour Warheads
The Warhead Challenge was a pretty average part of our lives as children. The idea was to stick one of these in your mouth and see how long you could last. Pinched faces, drool everywhere, you can just feel yourself transported back.
44. Humpty Dumpty Easter Eggs
We aren’t really sure what we looked forward to the most about Easter when it came to Humpty Dumpty. Was it the egg head himself, or the fake Smarties that you could find inside? For some reason, they tasted way better than normal Smarties, but the experience just isn’t the same today.
45. Wagon Wheels
Marshmallow and jam, packed between two biscuits and then coated in chocolate, the Wagon Wheel was the iconic bikkie of many Aussie childhoods. They’re still available today, but for some reason, they don’t taste as good as they used to, and they’re smaller.
46. Raspberry Twisters
Vibrantly red and definitely not natural or free from artificial nasties, Raspberry Twisters were, nevertheless, a delicious part of our youth. Sometimes marketed as red liquorice, although we have no idea why, these chewy sweets were an after school special.
There was an ideal time to eat peanut brittle, and if you got it wrong, the results were disastrous. Too soft and it was a gooey caramel mess, too hard and you could easily break a tooth crunching away at it. Definitely one for memory lane.
48. Zooper Doopers
Cheap, cheerful and very colourful Zooper Doopers, and similar frozen icy pole varieties, were the summer special at just about every home in Australia. Encased in plastic that needed to be approached carefully, lest it razor cut the sides of your mouth, they were the only way to cool down in the summer.
Who hasn’t almost cracked a tooth on a jawbreaker, or worked at it for a few days at a time, resting the tongue and mouth for a bit by leaving it inside the paper bag? One of the essential experiences of being an Aussie kid was to work through the layers, colour by colour, until you finally reached the middle.
50. Spearmint Leaves
One of the few lollies that tended to split a crowd, it’s hard to know what to think of spearmint leaves. On the one hand, they’re covered in sugar, which is always a winning ingredient. On the other hand, they make you feel like you’ve just brushed your teeth, and have a minty effect on all the foods you eat after. Weird.
So, which of these iconic foods is your favourite?