The Great Food Debate

Kim HoPR Manager
October 21, 2020, 7:32 AM GMT+0

Parma, parmi or parmy? The correct answer depends on which state you’re from

What’s in a name? When it comes to Aussie foods, this varies state-to-state. YouGov looks at what Australians call their favourite local treats and the debate over deep-fried potato slices.

What to call slices of potato dipped in batter and then deep-fried is hotly debated between certain Aussie states. Our data finds that Australians overall most commonly refer to this delicious snack as ‘potato scallops’ (46%). This is followed by ‘potato cake’ (30%), and ‘potato fritter’ (22%) – and a small percentage (2%) refer to it by some other name. In Victoria, this is most commonly called potato cake (74%) and in South Australia, the term potato fritter is preferred (56%). However, potato scallop comes up in top in New South Wales (74%), Queensland (65%) and Western Australia (45%).

Younger Australians (aged 18 to 24) are the most likely to refer to it as potato cakes, and older Australians (aged 50 and above) are the last likely (34% vs. 27%). Conversely, Australians over the age of 50 are the most likely to call this deep-fried snack potato scallops, and those aged 18 to 24 are the least likely (53% vs. 39%).

Even the name of a certain sweet melon is in contention

While eight in ten (78%) Aussies refer to this fruit as ‘rockmelon’, one in five (21%) call it ‘cantaloupe’. Those living in West Australia are the most likely to refer to this fruit as rockmelon (93%), followed by South Australia (90%), Queensland (88%) and New South Wales (87%). In Victoria however, while the population is split between calling this cantaloupe and rockmelon (49% vs. 50%), these residents are more likely to refer to this fruit as a cantaloupe compared to any other state.

Pub food staple chicken parmigiana also has a few nicknames

Amongst Australians overall, the nicknames ‘parmi’ (34%) or ‘parma’ (34%) for this classic Aussie food are equally used, with ‘parmy’ (21%) also in the ring, or even another name entirely (11%).

What to call chicken parmigiana is in contention depending on which state one hails from. In New South Wales is almost evenly split between parmi (34%), parma (26%) and parmy (25%). A similar trend can be seen in Queensland with parmi coming up top (38%), followed closely by parmy (28%) and parma (18%). In South Australia, this is split between parmi (45%) and parmy (37%). In Western Australia this is most commonly known as parmi (51%). Victoria is the only state where the majority are agreed on what to call this cheesy deep fried dish – seven in ten (72%) refer to it as parma.

Australian women are more likely to refer to this dish as parmi than men (38% vs. 29%), and men are more likely to call it parma than women (38% vs. 30%).

Laura Robbie, General Manager of YouGov Australia commented: “Who would’ve thought so much debate would come out of deep-fried battered potatoes, but our data has put the issue to rest with potato scallops being the most agreed upon name in the nation. Whatever you call these beloved foods, it is clear locals have their favourite nicknames.”

***Results based on 1,037 / 1,055 Australians surveyed on YouGov Omnibus