Kakadu is rich in bush foods, if you know where to look. Here we list some of our favourites. Find out more on an Aboriginal tour.
Fruit and vegetable food
We call it: Anme
This includes honey and ant eggs.
Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana)
We call it: Anmorlak
This is also called billygoat plum. In Gunumeleng season, the tree starts flowering, providing nectar for birds, bees and bats. In Banggerreng season the small green fruits are good to eat and a great source of vitamin C.
Red bush apple (Syzygium suborbiculare)
We call it: Andjarduk
We throw sticks up into the tall trees if the ripe apples haven’t fallen to the ground already. Andjarduk are ripe in the tropical summer. They start fruiting in Gunumeleng.
Black currant bush (Antidesma ghaesembilia)
We call it: Andjurrugumarlba
Lots of berries grow on these small trees and shrubs near freshwater streams during Gudjewg, our monsoon season. When they’re black and ripe they are delicious to eat. We also boil them up to extract the vibrant purple colour, using it to make baskets from pandanus and kurrajong fibres.
Water lily (Nymphea violacea)
We call it: Andem
The edible stems of the water lily are called Anbardmo. These hollow green flower stems are juicy and taste a little like celery sticks.
The root tuber and its edible seeds are called Mabala. We dig up the fleshy roots in Gurrung season. The roots contain starchy seeds that we grind into a paste and then form into small cakes. We bake the cakes in the ground oven that we call Gungerri, wrapped up in lily leaves and paperbark.
Meat and fish
We call it: Gunganj (meat) and djeni (fish)
Barramundi (Lates calcarifer)
We call it: Namarngorl
The young male fish live upstream in freshwater. When they’re old enough to mate, they travel back into the estuaries where they were born. We cook them whole on hot coals.
Saratoga (Scleropages jardini)
We call it: Guluibirr
When we cook Guluibirr, we stuff the gutted fish with paperbark leaves to add flavour.
Freshwater mussel (Velesunio angasi)
We call it: Gurruk
Freshwater mussels bury themselves in the mudbanks of creeks as they dry up. We look for little holes along the muddy banks and pull them out.