Florida Food and Drink
Florida’s cuisine is a mixture of traditional Southern dishes with Caribbean and Latin flavours added for extra spice.
Southern 'pit' barbecue (i.e. beef, pork or chicken smoked in brick barbecue pits or large metal drums with tangy sauce added before and after cooking), garlic-seasoned prawns and crab, black-eyed peas, baked or candied sweet potatoes, cornbread, fried frog’s legs, fried alligator tail and fried conch (or 'conch fritters') are some of the old-style classics that native Floridians have been eating for much of the Florida’s recent history.
Immigrants from the British West Indies, Haiti and Spanish-speaking Latin America have added yucca, plantains, mangoes, rice and beans, spices (e.g. curry and jerk), and other tropical delicacies to the state’s palate. However, many of the more authentic flavours can only be found at local barbecue joints, 'soul food' restaurants and seafood shacks in out-of-the-way corners of the state. If you are looking for a specific dish, it is best to ask a long-time resident where the best place is to find it.
Meanwhile, the gastronomic scene in Miami is becoming world-class, with international and local chefs lending their names and expertise to the city’s increasingly sophisticated culinary offerings. Fusion and gourmet Cuban, Mexican, Haitian, Jamaican and Brazilian restaurants abound, as do upscale pizzerias, vegetarian diners and seafood salons - which almost always offer fresh stone crabs - a delicacy available nowhere else in the USA.
With that said, Florida is also overrun with national chain eateries, from fast-food franchises on every corner to ethnic-themed mega-restaurants to all-you-can-eat buffets. However, if you can stomach the grease, some of these less-salubrious options can be quite tasty. For example, Chicken Kitchen in Miami is home to a mean chicken-veggie-rice combo called the 'Chop-chop.' The Krispy Kreme chain offers warm, luscious doughnuts straight from the oven. They are about as close to heaven on earth as you can get.
• Key Lime pie (i.e. dessert made with lime, egg yolks, sugar, cream and condensed milk, topped with airy, smooth meringue)
• Cuban sandwich (i.e. ham, shredded roast pork, Swiss Cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread)
Things to know
In some parts of the state, alcohol is not sold on Sundays.
In the us, tipping is customary for good service. Therefore, servers in restaurants, bars and nightclubs tend to 15% of the total bill (before tax) for good service, or 20% for excellent service.
Cuban drinks, such as the mojito (i.e. white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint) and the Cuba Libre (i.e rum, Coco-Cola, and lime juice on ice) are very popular at bars across Florida. The margarita (i.e. tequila, flavoured liqueur and lime juice), the hurricane (i.e. light and dark rum, fruit juice, simple syrup and grenadine) and the caipirinha (i.e. cachaça, sugar and lime) are also popular tropical drinks.