With so much ocean-adjacent land, it makes sense Florida is a great place to find seafood. But did you know the Sunshine State is home to a variety of climates, vegetation and food cultures? If you’re looking for must-try Florida foods, you’ll find a diverse array of options.
Be sure to check out some of Hawai’i’s must try fruits, too!
Florida Food: Impacted by Culture and Location
The unique flavors of Latin and Spanish culture have influenced many South Florida foods. These foods either originate from a specific part of Florida, or deliver a unique twist on a meal that you can only find in the sunshine state.
The Iconic Florida Orange
Likely the most famous food in the Sunshine State is the sweet Florida orange. All across the state, thousands of citrus groves produce juicy and tangy oranges by the millions. The humid climate, consistent rainfall, and plentiful sunshine is ideal for growing the perfect fruit for a hot summer.
One hundred percent sweet Florida orange juice is simply the best — no other additives are needed. Even so, these oranges have been used in multiple orange juice mixes dating as far back as 1920.
Pair this sweet fruit with chicken to make this slow cooker orange chicken recipe.
One of the more unexpected delicacies to come from Florida has to be alligator. It can be grilled, smoked, sautéed, and fried. The consistency of gator is generally tougher than chicken or steak.
It goes great as a surprise stand-in for seafood in some dishes, and it can also be used as ground meat to make burger for large gatherings.
When it comes to must-try Florida foods, a cuban sandwich is a crowd favorite. The key to this notable sandwich is the thin, crispy textured Cuban bread, which is distinct in the way that it uses lard as an ingredient.
Pair this mouth-watering bread with your choice of meat, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, and you have a classic Cuban sandwich to enjoy. Don’t forget the plantain chips on the side!
Down south along the Florida coast is where you can get some of the most authentic Cuban sandwiches. It is a signature dish around Miami, and one of the most impressive parts of this dish is its versatility. You can add a variety of meats to the sandwich, including pork, ham, beef, chicken, turkey, and more.
Key Lime Pie
This classic Florida dessert comes from the Florida Keys and has become popular throughout America. Limes from the Keys are known to be smaller, and contain more seeds. These limes are better for a pie because they are more aromatic than regular limes. You’ll also notice key lime pie is often more yellow than green; this is because of the egg yolks within the recipe.
It originated in Key West, Florida in 1830, and can be paired with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream.
Love the flavor of Key Limes? Check out these delicious Key Lime dessert recipes!
Gulf Shrimp and Clams
For the best and biggest seafood in Florida, look no further than the Gulf of Mexico. Along the west coast of Florida, you’ll find all kinds of shrimp, clams, oysters, and more.
Two of my personal favorites are Cedar Key clams and Apalachicola Bay shrimp.
The clams can be steamed or put in a classic clam chowder but they also go great with a garlic and butter sauce. The shrimp can be boiled, grilled, sautéed, baked, and plenty more.
If you’re looking for some great shrimp combinations, be sure to try this easy and delicious Greek shrimp saganaki or shrimp pea risotto recipe.
Which of these Florida foods have you tried?