Aug
16

Melbourne’s best street food may not be what you expect…

August 16, 2019
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Bec Pickett

To any non-Australian it may be surprising to learn that, for decades, a simple hardware store chain has steadily ‘cemented’ its roots in the street food scene Down Under.

Just ask any Melbournian worth their salt where to go for a tasty, hot street food snack on weekends that won’t break the bank and the answer is simple; Bunnings.

#localsknow this really should be the first question in The Australian Citizenship test.

An Introduction to Bunnings

Bunnings is a nationwide household hardware chain store selling everything from duct-tape to drills, daffodils to dunnies (it’s an Aussie word, google it). And most importantly, this is the home of the mighty Bunnings Snag.

Technically, Bunnings don’t actually sell these sizzling sausages in-store. Instead, Bunnings stores across the country have provided a platform, in the form of their storefront carparks and nearby pavements and patches of grass, for local schools, charities and organisations to set up shop for the weekend and make a few bucks on the side, feeding the hungry masses and encouraging impromptu seedling purchases. A delicious capitalist piggy-back where everybody wins. (well, almost everyone. #sorrypigs)

Not to be confused with the Democracy Snag (these only appear at polling booths and voting centres nationwide on election days) the Bunnings Snag has become so popular they’re popping up permanently in the car-parks of office supply chains and furniture stores around the country. #moresausage.

Bunnings Australia
nnings Superstore: a somewhat unusual location for tasty street food in Melbourne and beyond. Photo credit: WikiCommons

The typical urban snag stand is set up something like this:

A ‘tarp‘ (tarpaulin)

A ‘barbie‘ (barbeque)

Snags‘ (sausages) – supermarket bought, the cheaper they are the more authentic it is

Bread – the generic, pre-sliced, preservative-filled type that your parents innocently fed you when you were a kid

Onions – sliced and grilled

Sauces – tommy sauce (ketchup), mild mustard and BBQ sauce

An ‘Esky‘ (cooler) – to keep drinks cold

Soft drink selection

Volunteer staffing – the chipper type who just want to have a yarn with you

A money tin – No Amex or pay-wave here, sorry!

The result? A sizzled pork sausage, wrapped in a slice of cheap n’ fluffy bread, piled with blackened grilled onions and topped with a squiggle of your fave sauce. Wash it down with a cold, fizzy, thirst-quenching drink and you’ve got yourself a meal for under a fiver. Ahh, ‘Straya’ (it’s Aussie again, google it).

A snag on its own will set you back $2.50. Throw in the drink and a combo can be as little as a four bucks.

It’s the Sunday morning go-to for anyone with a hangover and living within a 500 metre radius of a Bunnings, it’s the quick-fix for parents before they drop their kids off at grandma’s, it’s the bad habit of gardeners who can’t resist a sneaky snack on their way home to plant their new pot of basil, it’s the quick favourite for working-class, weekend tradies (who order three), and the Sunday late-morning meal of choice for millennial’s across the Fitzwick Belt who only have $24 left until Tuesday.

Just look at those sumptuous snags sizzling.... Photo credit: Urban Adventures

To help you find your ultimate sausage fix, the Urban Adventures team has been hitting the streets of Melbourne to bring you our top picks for the best Bunnings Snag in the city:

Brunswick

Ah Brunswick. The green-hued bubble within an already progressive bubble (that’s Melbourne). North-side is where you’ll find vegan leather shops, readily available milk from a dozen different plant sources, plastic-free grocery stores and, of course, ethical snag stands. Brunny Bunny serves up both the meat and animal-free varieties and even throws in some wholemeal bread for the health-conscious snag-scarfer.

Preston

Still North-side, yet not a Bunnings, local cat rescue centre Maneki Neko provides the animal-lover in you the option to adopt and foster a furry, feline friend and, whilst waiting for your paperwork to be finalised, tuck into a purr-fectly cooked vegan sausage wrapped in quality, bakery-donated bread.

Collingwood

Famous for a not-so-polished football club, million-dollar crumbling workers cottages, council estates and hipster-inhabited warehouse conversions, Collingwood, meaning ‘The Wood of Disputed Ownership,’ lives up to its name. Collingwood Bunnings is a new-kid-on-the-block in one of Melbourne oldest suburbs and doesn’t disappoint in terms of location (perfect for when you’re hungover on the 86 tram) and, being bang in the centre of the countries’ only federal greens electorate, there is of course a vego option. In true Collingwood FC colours, the onions are black and the bread is white. There’s even soil pallets nearby so you can sit down and tuck into your snag before you hit the vintage shops on nearby Smith Street.

Keysborough

Whilst it’s unlikely to be visited by anyone coming to Melbourne for its food, the Keysborough Bunnings is en route to the Mornington Peninsula so could serve as a strategic pit-stop for car loads of hungry peninsula-bound weekend explorers. Sausages are hot, bread is white, staff are friendly, sauces are plentiful and all proceeds go to a local kindy (more Aussie-speak, google it).

Frankston

An easy 55kms from the city by chopper, Frankston serves up the homiest of ‘homebrand’ snags served by a busy, but friendly posse from the Langwarrin Pony Club. One of the busier snag stands in the metropolitan area, the onions and meat could have done with a tad longer on the grill but the bread was soft and fluffy. Yay or neigh? We’d have given a solid 10 if only they’d had Ginuwine classic ‘Pony’ playing on repeat.

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