I’m a bit of a foodie and there’s no better place in Florida to indulge my passion for eating than Florida Keys. What makes the food in Florida Keys so unique is that it draws from a diverse range of culinary influences – you’ll find lots of Cuban inspired dishes as well as some of the best and freshest seafood in the US.
With so much fish and seafood in the surrounding waters it’s no surprise to find it on the menu at most of the restaurants in Florida Keys. (Click here for my post on the Marathon Seafood Festival). One of my favourite types is Key West pink shrimp - the flavour is a little sweeter than other crustaceans – they taste great battered or as part of a salad.
One classic Keys dish I’d recommend trying is conch. Conch chowder, either tomato based or white, is delicious, and I like it the spicier the better. Or if you prefer, why not try deep-fried conch fritters? Stone crabs are another local delicacy. The meat from them is sweet and succulent and they are usually served with butter, chilled with mustard sauce or in crab cakes. Local restaurants also serve up spiny lobster, which again has sweet and tender meat, as well as grouper and a variety of snapper.
I’m a huge fan of Cuban food too, and in Florida Keys you can find a selection of traditional Cuban dishes including roast pork and ropa vieja (shredded beef), accompanied with black beans, yellow rice, sweet plantains and Cuban bread. My top tip is to head to a take-away stall at one of the island’s launderettes as they sell the best Cuban sandwiches (Cuban bread stuffed with meat and cheese).
Just make sure you leave room for pudding as it goes without saying that a trip to Florida Keys isn’t complete unless you sample a slice of Key lime pie. Every restaurant I’ve eaten at seems to have its own take on Florida Key’s signature dessert but they were all equally as irresistible.