Miami is no doubt one of the most diverse cities in the world. The majority of the Miami food traditions come from various Latin American countries, like Cuba, Argentina, and Venezuela, to name a few. Therefore, you can guess that the food slang here is very different than what you'd expect in another typical American city. 

Get acquainted with these words if you visit our magical city, or even if you live here already and aren't as familiar. Whether you're at the mall, at a bar, or even just looking for comfort food at your local grocery store, you're bound to hear this all around you wherever you are!

1. Croquetas

The Oxford Dictionary defines a croqueta (also known as croquettes in English) as "a small ball or roll of minced meat or fish, fried in breadcrumbs". The most popular variety you will see are croquetas de jamon, or ham croquetas. Other popular varieties are pollo (chicken) and pescado (fish, most often cod). Here's how to pronounce it!

2. Empanada

Marissa Rodriguez

An empanada is a pastry (comparable to an American turnover/hand pie) that can be filled with savory ingredients like spinach, chicken, or ground meats (most commonly ground beef), and also come with sweeter ingredients like the iconic guava and cream cheese combination. They are sometimes labeled with a stamp to indicate what flavor they are (for instance, these from Sergio's are spinach, so they say "sp")

3. Cafe Cubano

I can write a whole other article about how to order coffee in Miami, but this is a general term for a shot of espresso sweetened with sugar while it's brewed, and can be served in many different ways, including in one-and-a-half ounce "shots", or in cortaditos, which this Miami blog article describes as "a single serving of Cuban coffee 'cut' with steamed, whole milk". My personal favorite weekend treat is a cafe con leche, which they describe as "a cup of warm, steamed or boiled milk with a shot of Cuban coffee."

4. Tostadas

Tostada is the term for "toast", and it is a piece of warm, buttered cuban bread that you dip into your cafe con leche for the ultimate experience. So good and can be found everywhere in this city. 

5. Platanos 

chicken, sauce
Sydney Segal

A platano (also known as a plantain in English) is similar to a banana, but a little starchier, and it cannot be eaten raw. There are many ways to cook platanos; you can go sweet in twice-fried platanitos, or more savory with tostones.

Not sure if it is a coincidence that all of the items on this list are Cuban food/drinks, but in Miami (especially around our campus), a lot of the bakeries and small restaurants are Cuban. Being Cuban myself, I can talk on and on about my culture's food and how amazing it is, but I encourage you to go try it, especially if you haven't. Who knows, you may just find your next favorite cuisine, and now you can go out and order from a ventanita (little window) with confidence!