If you think of America as a melting pot, then Miami is a tossed salad.
The term “American culture” is hard to define, and that’s because the culture was built by so many different peoples from all over the world. While we generally have English and Hollywood and baseball as common cultural bonds, America’s culture is really more defined by the individual trying to define it. You can go almost anywhere in America and find Italian restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Asian restaurants, and good old-fashioned American hamburger joints.
When it comes to knowing the cultural richness of a country, there are no better ways to show it than with food. Every region of America, and sometimes individual cities can take simple ingredients like chicken, ground beef, cheese and vegetables and turn them into vibrant culinary delights that are very different from each other – whether it’s made in lo s Angeles, New Orleans, New York or Miami.
And when it comes to food, there are very few places that embrace their cultural heritage and variety better than Miami. How is Miami a tossed-salad in terms of culture? Think about the ingredients in a tossed salad – nothing mingles with each other, but they work together to create the tastes, flavors and textures harmoniously.
Lettuce, cheese, tomato, croutons, all is tossed together and every bite can be different. The same idea can be found in the various culinary creations in Miami.
Miami is an eclectic tropical environment for much Central American, Caribbean and South American influence, even on something as American as a hamburger. There are dishes that have Colombian, Cuban or Venezuelan influences, as well as others from Spain, Mexico or Brazil. Like a tossed salad, they do not mix with each other, but they work together to create an exotic texture and flavor that can’t be found anywhere else.
A popular Miami dish is called an arepa, which can be described as a cross between a pancake and a grilled-cheese sandwich (two American staples). Or how about trying a croqueta? This is a Miami version of a breaded club sandwich (ham, chicken, and cheese) with chorizo added.
Or maybe you can try the Cuban Sandwich, which takes a regular ham and cheese to a whole new level – yellow mustard, special Cuban bread, Swiss cheese, roasted pork and baked ham. Even simple American favorites can be influenced and turned into iconic Miami fare that can only be appreciated on South Beach.
Miami is a vibrant, diverse culture all its own that separates it from virtually any other city in the state of Florida, much less any place else in America. It is a city with food that can only be identified by its location, much like New York or Chicago for pizza, New Orleans for jambalaya and Memphis or Kansas City for barbecue. And hey, we’re pretty sure that Miami has its own version of all of these, somewhere. It’s worth the search!