legendary Adelaide “pie floater” – hot meat pie with tomato sauce
in a bowl of hot green pea soup!
first time diners swear by these local delights; others swear at them!
Floater - aka Pie Floater:
South Australian National Trust has traced the history of the pie floater:
an impressive history tracing back 130+ years.
Early records in South Australia state that the pie floater was reputedly
born in Port Pirie, South Australia, conceived by one Ern "Shorty"
Bradley in 1890's - but, no one really knows how. Did he
inadvertently drop a pie into a bowl of soup? Or maybe what a lot of
people are stating today, it could have been because the bottom of the pie
is softer and easier to tuck in with a spoon and it maybe because it stops
the pie from slipping around the plate. Or though pea soup
with meat has long been part of English culinary history, with honourable
mentions in the 19th Century, including Yorkshire "pea and pie
supper", "pea soup with eel", "suet dumplings or
saveloys", (Dumplings in soup were known as "Floaters").
Maybe, it developed from those dishes, which are useful when you have a
lot of people to feed on a budget: for example at a cricket match, or at
harvest time or even at the footy.
pie floater is a meal available in Australia, which consists of the
traditional meat pie sitting, unusually inverted (upside-down), in a plate of thick
green pea soup. It is traditionally served and covered with tomato
sauce and, although subject to the taste of the individual consumer, mint
sauce and salt and pepper are the also traditionally added to complement
the dish. Another popular condiment is vinegar or even
2003, the pie floater was recognised as a South Australian Heritage Icon
by the National Trust of Australia.
The addition of the pea soup provides extra flavour and dietary fibre, and
extends what otherwise may be considered a snack to a full meal.
High profile fans of the pie floater are: Anthony Bourdain, Joe
Cocker, Billy Connolly, and Nigel Mansell. Also, Adelaide's high
profile fans are: Bob Francis, Peter Goes (I hope to add more names soon).
While the dish has appeared in other Australian locations – 1950s
Brisbane and in the 1930s notably in Sydney at Harry's Cafe de Wheels – it has made
its biggest mark in South Australia.
have been advised by an expert on pie floaters they were always referred
to as "Floaters" not pie floaters as we call them today!