While surfing at semi-random, I came across epinions, which contained many reviews of a chain of American restaurants called Outback Steakhouse. Since my opinion seemed to differ fairly radically from the 270-odd existing reviews, I added mine. And since it turned into quite a good rant, I'm putting it up here, too.

Outback Steakhouse: an American's idea of what Australian cuisine is like. Stunningly inauthentic. Started in Florida, and spread over much of US-dominated part of the world (which I can understand, 'cos Americans generally know little about the World Outside America), and also the wealthy parts of south-east Asia (huh?). TV ads used to feature American actors doing appallingly bad attempts at an Australian accent, but now have got slightly more of a clue.

A favourite game of my friends in the US was to try to talk me into going to Outback Steakhouse when I was tired, and therefore apt to slip into Mr. Sarcastic Bastard mode. They regarded my responses to Outback's various paraphernalia, menus, waiters, etc. as deeply amusing.

The menu features almost exclusively items that real Australians would be completely unfamiliar with. The dishes include items such as Blooming Onion, Aussie Cheese Fries, Kookaburra Wings, Walkabout Soup, Ayers Rock Canada (really!), Jackeroo chops, and many other dishes, pretty much all of which are standard American restaurant fare with some random Australian-sounding word shoved into the name. Where the Australian word and the American word for something differ, the American word is usually used, although there's a partial exception for "chook" and "chips".

Under a menu section titled "sandwiches" (pretty much anything Australians call a burger, Americans call a sandwich), there's a burger you can have with a whole bunch of toppings; but pineapple and beetroot are not on the list. They use American cheddar, which is neon orange (real Australian cheddar is an extremely pale yellow).

I frequently find myself forced to take a pen to some of the menu's grosser errors.

The decor contains alligators (instead of crocodiles), neon Budweiser signs, stuffed toy kangaroos, koalas, etc. The architecture looks more Texan than Australian.

All in all, it seems almost deliberately designed to jar and shock real Australians with its bizarrely twisted reflection of the very shallowest surface of Australian culture.

Oh, and Americans pronounce "Aussie" with a hard "s", like "Oss-ee", for which I find myself forced to kill them and bury their bodies in the lime pit.