Florida specialties – must-try foods on the Gulf Coast

Florida oranges

The US is full of places for foodies, including the Sunshine State. But what food is Florida known for? Experience a taste of the Floridian cuisine with these specialty dishes, in our guide to the best Florida food to try on your vacation.

Key lime pie

If Florida could be summed up in a dessert, it would be Key Lime Pie. Fresh, tangy, and fruity, this delectable sweet treat is an iconic must-try in the Florida Keys. Bursting with a sweet and tangy citrus flavor, the creamy filling and biscuit base combine perfectly to create a refreshing summer dessert. It contains key limes which are slightly smaller than the typical Persian limes. It is a hugely popular food in Florida amongst both locals and visitors and is a must-try on your Florida vacation.

Key lime pie

Stone crab

Throughout Florida, stone crabs are popular for their big, meaty claws. Unlike usual crab dishes where most of the meat comes from the main body, stone crab’s claws are tender and jam-packed, including a sweet element. Renowned as a Florida seafood delicacy, the claws are generally boiled and served with garlic butter or spicy remoulade.

Cuban sandwich

Popular in the southern Florida region, the Cuban sandwich is a toasted, submarine-sandwich snack. Layered with ham, roast pork, cheese, and pickle between two slices of Cuban bread, the sandwich is certainly not short on flavor. The bread is what makes the sandwich extra-special. An important part of the cooking process is the grilling of the sandwich. This ensures that all the flavors and juices merge together, resulting in a sumptuous taste. All over the area restaurants feature this distinctive snack. The best place to find them is on street corner-snack bars, known as loncherias.

Cuban sandwich

Citrus fruits

Florida grows the most oranges of anywhere in the USA, and the state is famous for the size and delicious taste of its citrus fruits. With a huge variety of fruit available, from navel oranges to grapefruits to tangerines and many more, there’s a selection for all tastes. One of the must-try drinks in Florida is pure, fresh orange juice, which we’re willing to bet will be the best you’ll ever taste.


Technically, kumquats are one of the many citrus fruits that Florida is famous for, but these strange little snack-sized delicacies are so unusual that they deserve their own list entry. Kumquat trees grow on trees down Florida boulevards up and down the state. They can be plucked and eaten straight from the tree, no peeling required. They have a tart, slightly sour center, and sweet skin. If fresh from the tree isn’t your thing, look out for them pickled in preserves, jammed into jam jars, or cooked low and slow as marmalades.


Rock Shrimp

Rock shrimp is one of several deepwater shrimp species that live off the coast of Florida. These ones are particularly sought-after because of their taste, which is uncannily similar to expensive lobster meat. Peak rock shrimp season is from June through November, but you can also find them frozen at seafood markets year-round. Typically, these tasty little critters are fried or broiled in butter.

Boiled peanuts

It may sound simple, but soiled peanuts are one of Florida’s favorite snacks. Raw peanuts are boiled for many hours in their shells, producing a perfect salty snack that is found at bars and parties across the state. If you prefer your snacks with a little extra flavor, you can easily find peanuts perked up with a little more spice or flavor dust depending on your taste.

Boiled peanuts


These whopping great fish are not only huge in size, but also in popularity as a tasty treat. Grouper have firm, meaty flesh that makes them ideal for stuffing between slices of bread for a mighty fish sandwich. Almost every seafood shack in the state will feature it grilled, fried, broiled, or blackened. When it comes to popular Florida food, fish is at the top of the pile, and grouper is one of the state’s best options for seafood lovers.


Florida’s ubiquitous reptilians feature on menus throughout the state. It may seem like an unpleasant idea, to eat an alligator, but brave souls that have chowed down on the scaly snacks have reported a taste rather like chicken, earning the gators the rather unflattering nickname of ‘swamp chickens’. Common preparations include marinated ribs or deep-fried tail chunks.

Fried seafood


Florida isn’t just about the oranges – there’s another fruity favorite that the state grows in abundance. Florida is the winter strawberry capital of the world, growing tonnes of berries each and every year. There’s even an annual strawberry festival every March in the appropriately named Plant City, which you can find out more about here.

Craft beer

The craft beer scene has been booming around the world in recent years, and Florida is no exception. Across the state, trendy breweries celebrating great beer have been popping up, making the Sunshine State a great place for an ale trail.

A flight of craft beer

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