Florida cuisine is probably one of the most unique and diverse in the world. The rich exchange of multicultural cuisines began when Ponce de León first staked a claim for Spain in 1513. Early Native American, Spanish, and European styles were significantly influenced by ingredients and flavors brought by the Africans in the sixteenth century, and by early Anglo-American settlers from regions north of Florida.
Through the years, Florida's basic Spanish and Southern cuisines have continued to blend with a wide range of cultures.
Minorcans used the native datil peppers to flavor their sauces and pilaus, and in the early 1900s many Jewish restaurants sprang up as Jewish communities grew. People moving in from the northern states developed new ways to use guavas, fresh seafood, wild ginger, and countless other locally grown foods. In 1959, the first of several migrations of Cuban refugees added yet another new cuisine. Cuban sandwich shops, black beans, and arroz con pollo became commonplace. Bahamians, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Vietnamese, and many more ethnic groups continue to influence the local flavors, making it one of the country's most interesting regional cuisines.