Florida has a very rich and varied cuisine, drawing culinary influences from the Caribbean, Latin America, and of course, Southern cuisine. We hope we never have to leave our home state, but if we did, there are quite a few foods we would miss.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie was invented in Florida, and we're happy to take the credit. It's actually really easy to make, so go out and try it if you never have. Your taste buds will thank you.
2. Fresh Orange Juice
There's no better way to start your day than with a healthy and refreshing glass of OJ. Sure, you can probably find orange juice in other states, but it can't get any fresher or tastier than ours.
3. Florida Stone Crab
This Florida delicacy is usually served cold with a mustard sauce for dipping. Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach was the first place to serve this delicious dish. Its mild flavor is often compared to lobster. Be prepared to pay a lot to ship it around the country when the craving strikes.
4. Cuban Sandwich/Cubano
A Cuban sandwich traditionally consists of slow-roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, on fresh Cuban bread, pressed to perfection. Although you might be able to find some version of this in other places, it definitely won't be able to compete with the real deal. There is some debate about the sandwich's origin, but the best and most authentic versions are found in Tampa, Miami, and Key West.
Most of us don't really eat this swamp version of chicken every day, but it does pop up on menus across the state. Plus, it's fun to be able to tell you're friends you're dining on such an intimidating predator.
The mojito, which also originated in Cuba, is made with white rum, lime juice, sugar, mint and club soda. It's popular all over Florida because it's so refreshing in hot weather.
Fresh oysters are a fickle food, and you definitely can't get them everywhere. Apalachicola is a charming small town in Northwest Florida that is famous for producing some of the biggest and best oysters in the country.
I remember growing up with one of these trees in my front yard and trying this unique citrus fruit for the first time. Dade City celebrates an annual kumquat festival and you can find lots of kumquat creations in the town year-round.
9. Fried Seafood
If you know the right restaurants, there is no better place in the world for fresh, convenient, absolutely delicious fish tacos, sandwiches, or fried shrimp.
10. Caribbean Food
You don't have to look far to in Florida to find a tiny, locally owned restaurant with authentic oxtail or curry goat dishes.
11. Cuban Coffee
This sweet espresso is a perfect late-afternoon pick-me-up.
12. Conch Fritters
Perfectly battered bites of fried conch are a Caribbean classic found in restaurants throughout the Keys. Good luck finding these if you move to the Midwest.
13. Strawberry Shortcake
Sure, you can find this in other places, but it's not going to be exactly the same. Plant City, FL, is known as the winter strawberry capital of the world, and this freshness helps make our version of this dish perfect.
14. Pub Subs
You might be surprised that a grocery store sub sandwich is on this list, but if so, you've probably never tried one. And this is just one of many items we would miss from this Florida-born grocery chain.