Conch Fritters And Key Lime Pie Are The Conch Republic’s Signature Dishes
When you go to Key West, and the Florida Keys for that matter, there are two things you must try to experience the culinary delights of the area.
They are conch fritters and Key Lime Pie. Here’s s little about each and one more reason you must have them here is that you pretty much can’t get them anywhere but here.
• Conch Fritters
A conch is two things in the Keys: a mollusk that that lives in one of those big shells you put up to your ear to hear the sound of the ocean, and a local resident. Conchs are such a big part of the Keys and Key West that long-time locals are called “conchs.”
A conch fritter is the meat from inside the conch shell mixed together with flowers and spices, rolled into a ball and deep fried. They are delicious and are served as appetizers at nearly every restaurant up and down the Keys.
I once went on a quest to find the best conch fritters in the Keys and after several stops and several hours, found them to be – at least to my liking – at the Island Fish Co., in Marathon. The address is 12648 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL.
• Key Lime Pie
Key West has (or used to have anyway), small limes called key limes, and they were used to make this tasty dessert. It contains juice from key limes, condensed milk (because no fresh milk could be found in the Keys in the early 1900s) and beaten eggs whites for a meringue topping. The pie actually kind of cooks itself and it has a very tangy taste.
There are dozens of places in Key West that sell and even serve just key lime pie. Most of them claim to be the “original” for key lime pie. Hard to know, really, but Pepe’s Cafe has been in business since 1909.
As far as the best key lime pie, that may well be not even in Key West. So when driving there, stop off a few miles before Key West at Mile Marker 20 and pull off a Mangrove Mama’s. Long-time Keys visitors always stop here for its Key Lime Pie. (Also, try the potato salad here; it’s great!).