Calle Ocho: Latin Street Food At It’s Finest

I’ve always said that I wish I was born half Latino and half Italian, solely based on my love for their cuisine. While I was instead born into Polish and German families, I got to experience for an afternoon what it’s like to be Latino in all it’s glory. Calle Ocho- it’s the only street festival you’ll ever need.

Calle Ocho, named for the street in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is the finale to Miami’s 10-day “Carnaval Miami”fiesta. And wow, it does not disappoint. 23 blocks of incredible food, drinks and lively music that you can’t help but dance along to as you make your way down Calle Ocho. It wasn’t uncommon to see booths lined with huge grills, cooking up every meat imaginable.


The festival was mainly influenced by Cuban and Puerto Rican culture, in both food and music. One of the reasons why I love the Latino culture so much is that everyone is so full of life, so eager to enjoy the day and share it with everyone around them. It didn’t matter that I was a little blonde girl on Spring Break from Indiana, I felt as much a part of the experience as anyone.One of the great things about Little Havana is there are some people who still don’t even speak English; some might scoff at this, but I find it intriguing.

So basically, the moral of my story is make it a point to go to Miami for Spring Break next year. Calle Ocho is the only reason you need, and it’s 100% worth it.

All my love and a little butter,

Olivia Birlson

Senior in Dietetics and the Certificate in Entrepreneurship Program at Purdue University

Cooking Instructor



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