Are you thinking of visiting Alaska and need a guide to food in Alaska?
Many people are choosing to leave American suburb life and are moving north to start life in Alaska. Being one of the least populated places in the country at one person per square mile, and boasting affordable real estate in picturesque settings, it’s easy to see why people would be interested in moving to this great state.
If you’re doing some research about moving to Alaska, you may very well be interested in finding out what Alaskans eat. Well, Alaskans living in urban areas eat almost the same kind of food that you purchase from your own supermarket. But Alaskan cuisine does consist of fresh delicacies which are unique only to Alaska.
The “whole foods Alaska” concept truly holds in the Last Frontier (Alaska’s nickname). The region has a lot to offer in terms of natural food options from berries and big game to fresh fish and tundra greens.
The Alaska state food is one of the best in the world. Here are a few local delicacies that you will likely encounter time and time again if you do visit or end up living here.
1. Game meat particularly black/brown grizzly bear meat
Bear hunting is legal in Alaska. It is therefore not uncommon to find people selling grizzly bear meat. The taste is very unique and requires a bit of getting used to. It is worth noting that you should only buy such meat from trusted sources who know how to hunt properly because the meat’s flavor will be affected by what the bear has been eating.
If you do decide to buy some bear meat, be sure to thoroughly cook it before eating because, the meat may contain Trichinella spiralis roundworms which cause trichinosis a parasitic disease whose symptoms include abdominal cramps, fever, diarrhea, and muscle pain.
2. Fresh fish and seafood dishes
The state boasts more than 3,000 rivers and over 3 million lakes making Alaska one of the country’s largest providers of salmon, halibut, herring, and crab. One of the most popular must-try fish varieties is the Copper River Salmon which gets its name from Alaska’s wild, fast flowing Copper River. The fish is rich in omega 3 fats because it stores extra fat to get through the river’s many rapids to reach its own spawning areas. This extra fat makes for extra delicious eating.
3. Red, blue, and golden king crabs
King crabs are king crustaceans because they are some of the largest in the world. These Alaskan King crabs are around six-feet long and weigh more than 20 pounds. These big crustaceans are popular in the state. It doesn’t matter which species you’ve chosen whether the blue, red, or golden crab, you’ll have a delightful feast on your hands.
4. Wild berries such as blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries
When it comes to fruits, very few grow in this cold climate. However, wild berries are one of the state’s super healthy “whole foods Alaska”. Alaskan summers offer a variety of mouth-watering berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and seasonal choices of moss berries and salmon berries.
If you’re looking to sample food that’s a little bit on the native side, here’s a range of Alaskan native food to choose from:
1. Akutaq Ice Cream
This Alaskan dessert pronounced “AUK-goo-duck”, also goes by the nickname “Eskimo Ice Cream”. Sounds interesting, right? Want to know what’s in it? Well, the dessert is made by whipping reindeer fat (or bear fat), seal or whale oil, snow, and mashed berries into a foamy consistency that once frozen makes for one delicious serving of Eskimo Ice Cream.
2. Muktuk Ice Cream
This is another type of native ice cream prepared by both the Eskimo and Chukchi people. It resembles a large sushi block or Neapolitan ice cream. It consists of whale skin and blubber, frozen and eaten raw.
The saying is, ‘Never dismiss something until you’ve tried it’, and stinkheads are the perfect example for this saying. Stinkheads are preserved salmon heads prepared by the Yupik, Alaskan natives. The whitefish heads are buried for weeks until they are ready to be eaten. The fish has to rot first before being eaten. Sounds unpleasant for non-natives but for the locals in the villages, it is deemed as a treat in times of food scarcity and an essential nutrition source.
From game meat, to delicious fish dishes and seafood delicacies, Alaska is a land breaming with cuisine to be sampled. If you would like to learn how to prepare some of these meals, here’s a great place to check out Alaskan recipes.