Every location in the world has its own unique bounty of delicacies. When most people think of Alaska, the first thing that comes to mind is seafood. And for good reason! Those icy waters are a playground for all kinds of fish and crustaceans. In fact, some might say theirs is the best in the world.
Not a huge fan of seafood? A lot of their famous foods are also found on land, prepared to perfection for centuries by indigenous people who didn’t live anywhere near the water. Dishes like moose and reindeer are part of everyday fare along with unique preparations and storage methods that are deeply rooted in their culture. After a long day of trekking through the glaciers, a hearty meal is exactly what you crave, and Alaska does deliver!
- King Crab Legs – A longtime subject of thrill seeking TV watchers; crab fishing is a dangerous but lucrative profession. Why would people risk their lives to catch these crustaceans? Because they’re so delicious, people are willing to pay a pretty penny for them. With a leg span of up to six feet, Alaskan King Crab is known for being the sweetest and most tender in the world.
- Caribou –When is the last time you saw caribou in your local grocery store? Probably never! But up north, it’s much more common. People love to eat caribou because it’s less gamey than other meats and very lean.
- Moose Steak – Not an easy find, even in Alaska, this rare treat is for the true meat connoisseur. Its strong, gamey flavor is definitely an acquired taste, but for travelers seeking a culinary adventure, it’s a must!
- Reindeer Sausage – Since reindeer are in abundance up north, you’ll find reindeer sausage on a lot of menus. It’s served with breakfast, lunch, and dinner since its mild flavor can easily be adapted to most dishes.
- Oysters – Alaska’s cold waters are a goldmine for shellfish. But a little known fact is that while oysters thrive in the cold water, it’s too cold for them to reproduce, so “seeds” are transplanted from warmer destinations like California.
- Halibut – Firm like a steak, but lighter, this whitefish is one of Alaska’s most delicious. Since halibut fishing in Alaska is closely regulated, they’re never “over-fished” and it swims in some of the cleanest water in the world.
- Salmon – This cold-water fish is big business up north. Alaskans pride themselves on sustainably caught fresh fish. Whether it’s grilled or smoked, salmon has been a main staple of their diet for centuries, and they have its preparation down to a science.
- Berry Cobbler – Over 50 varieties of berries are grown in Alaska. If you think store-bought organic berries are sweet, just wait until you taste these! Clean air and unspoiled soil make Alaska’s berries some of the sweetest in the world. Make them in a warm berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream and you’ve just gone to heaven!
- Beer – Alaskan Brewing Company uses recipes dating back to the 1800’s and serves up “Aware Winning Beers from the Last Frontier.” Using glacial water and local spruce tips, they have been creating flavors that best represent their home state since 1986.
- Akutaq – We had to throw in one dish that would really raise eyebrows. This mixture is a distinctly Alaska dessert that also goes by the name “Eskimo Ice Cream.” In fact, who doesn’t think of dessert when you mention whale oil and caribou fat? Well, there’s also mashed berries in it, too. The Alaskans love it; we’ll let you take the first bite.
Food exploration is certainly one of our favorite parts of traveling, and Alaska does not disappoint. While many are unaware of its culinary delights, you’ll certainly find plenty of worthy dishes. The only way to really immerse yourself in a destination’s culture is by involving your taste buds, too. When it comes to Alaska, you can sign us up.