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Florida Food and Drink

You will be spoilt for choice by the range of places to eat in Florida offering cuisine from all over the world. Fast food and snacks are available everywhere but look out for the more local options below.
 
Traditional American cooking is available throughout Florida portions tend to be on the large side and very good value. You can expect to start with a salad such as the popular heart of palm followed by locally sourced steaks, ribs and burgers or half a chicken served with vegetables, fries or potato.
 
Southern American cooking (also known as Soul Food) is popular in the northern half of the state and uses ingredients such as fried green tomatoes, okra, fried eggplant (aubergine) and black eyed peas to accompany roast beef, fried chicken or hogjaw (made from meat taken from the mouth of a pig). Cornbread is offered with any meal served with gravy but if you order fried fish you will be offered hush puppies instead – fried corn balls.
 
As a result of its large Cuban workforce Miami in the south has numerous restaurants offering traditional Cuban style fried, spicy meat and fish dishes served with rice, plaintains, cassava and black beans. Look out for the delicious sopa de mariscos (shellfish soup) and ajiaco criollo (meat and root vegetable stew). Cuban cafes offer café Cubano – tiny cups of strong sweet coffee and roadside stands offer refreshing coco frio – cold coconut milk served in its shell with a straw. You will also find plenty of menus from other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America in Miami which reflect the cities diverse migrant population.
 
Throughout Florida you will find excellent fish and seafood restaurants. Fishcamps are popular riverside venues selling fresh and inexpensive catch of the day such as grouper, mullet, swordfish and tuna, charcoal grilled or fried. From mid-October to mid-May look out for butter soaked tender stone crab claws often served as a starter or the succulent tiny spiny lobsters. In the Florida Keys the sea snail conch is available all year round and is often made into chowder or deep fried fritters. You certainly can’t leave Florida without trying the famous Key Lime Pie for dessert.
 
As for drinks, you can start the day with limitless coffee or tea refills. There are plenty of fresh fruit juices and Mexican beers such as Corona and Don Equis – often sold in pitchers. There a several local wines such as those produced at Chautauqua Vineyards in De Funiak Springs otherwise wines from Chile and California can be found on the menu. Cocktails are also popular especially during Happy Hour early evening. Cheers!