For many travelers, one of the most exciting parts of exploring new places and cultures is savoring their local cuisines. Tasting locally sourced and prepared cuisine brings visitors closer to the unique flavors and foods of the region, the lifestyles and cultures of its residents, and, in many cases, offers a perfect opportunity to truly enjoy oneself. Anyone visiting Alaska with dining in mind is certainly in for a treat – and we aren’t talking about just Baked Alaska!
For fervent foodies and folks filling up in preparation for their next trek around the state, here’s a menu of classic Alaska recipes and meals that will offer genuine tastes of the 49th state which we hope will make your day special and linger in your senses and memories long after your final bite.
A Popular Breakfast Recipe from Alaska
Sourdough Pancakes with Alaska Blueberry Syrup and a Side of Reindeer Sausage
Now this is a classic Alaska meal and a hearty way to start a long summer day of Alaska adventure. You might be surprised to learn that a handful of Alaska diners even have sourdough starter with roots dating back to the Gold Rush era, so a bite of these fluffy, mildly bitter pancakes is literally taste of history. Blanket your pancakes with locally produced Alaska blueberry syrup – or a few spoonful’s of Alaska raspberry jam – to complement sourdough flavors with some gentle, fruity sweetness. Alaska reindeer sausage in its breakfast form is most often cut into coin-shaped bites and charred just a touch. The protein in the grilled sausages adds a tingle of spice and snap to complete the perfect Alaska breakfast.
Bring on an Alaska Brunch!
King Crab Benedict
Flavor and texture combinations don’t get much more decedent, or more Alaska-flavored, than what you can experience savoring a King Crab Eggs Benedict. This amazing combination of King Crab meat smothered in Hollandaise sauce, with a soft fresh poached egg and the chew of a lightly toasted sourdough English muffin simply can’t be beat. An Alaska brunch tradition you can treasure forever!
An Alaska Lunch Favorite
Sourced in Alaska’s frigid deep waters and perfected in a sizzling deep fryer, this lunch is always the catch of the day. Your deep-fried halibut experience will differ depending on the restaurant and chef, but the results are always delicious. Big bites of luscious, flaky and juicy white fish are served in a golden-brown, crispy warm package. Fresh filets are cut into hunks and chunks, then either covered with an Alaska beer batter that turns to a thick, crunchy coating or with a delicate dusting with a “barely-there” coat of flour. Served with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce and a side of French fries (big-time bonus if they are Alaska potatoes), this is a true winner for an Alaska lunch.
Don’t Pass Up an Alaskan Afternoon Snack
Grilled Reindeer Sausage
Too busy exploring Alaska’s many iconic sites to stop for a sit-down lunch? An excellent backup plan is grabbing a grilled reindeer sausage from a hot dog stand or food truck easily found in Alaska’s downtowns and at local summer events. These bigger-than-bratwurst-sized sausages are sliced open lengthwise, grilled on both sides, then placed in soft, oversized buns with sauteed onions scattered across the top. Add your favorite condiment or go without, either way this flavorful, fun afternoon pick me up will forever change your perception of the traditional hot dog!
Kenai Cheese Dip & Smoked Salmon Strips
Craving a snack? Grab a container of the famous Kenai cheese dip and dive in with your favorite crackers. The shredded cheese, garlic cream and jalapeno chunks will have your tastebuds singing. Another great snack is smoked salmon strips, which are salty, chewy and Alaska-made.
An Appealing Alaska Appetizer
A perfect prelude to any Alaska dinner is an appetizer of – what else – fresh Alaska seafood! Just-off-the-boat shrimp and prawns, oysters and scallops and more offer endless opportunities for chefs to get creative. Shrimp simply boiled and served with butter or beer battered with tartar sauce on the side. Oysters served raw with a lemon squeeze or baked under a complement of toppings. Scallops pan fried with butter on each side or served with a sensational sauce. Share it with friends and you’ll all be coming back for more!
Dine It Up at a Dinner in Alaska
King Crab Legs
This is the undisputed champion of all Alaska meals, one that people from around the world dream about, and a bite that most travelers can’t leave the great state without experiencing. Thick red shells of these King Crab’s long legs protect a surprisingly sweet, delicate, and luscious string of tender seafood inside. After being boiled or broiled, King Crab legs are almost always served with warm melted butter. Crack a shell open and gently grab a bite of crab. But before you dip your crab into the butter bowl, enjoy the first bite all by itself. Experiencing this moment will instantly confirm for you why this dinner is the king of Alaska cuisine.
There is, of course, another Alaska “king” that makes a very popular entrée – King Salmon. Alaska chefs pride themselves on their signature recipes for this big fish when preparing its bright, beautiful filets.
Divinely Delicious Alaska Desserts
Still hungry? Dive into dessert! Try Alaska-made ice cream, which dazzles with the sweet-and-sour combo of dairy mixed with Alaska flavors like spruce tips, locally sourced wild berries, rhubarb, and more.
While you’re visiting, check out a local market to find Alaskan seafood, berry preserves and local beers. Many Alaska vendors will also ship these directly to you on request. And yes, that includes King crab and Kenai dip. You can easily replicate many of these popular dishes with the help of Alaska cookbooks written by the state’s chefs, food writers and historians. There’s an entire market of Alaska cookbooks in fact with recipes ranging from Gold Rush and traditional classics to modern Alaska cuisine takes and techniques.
We’re pretty sure that you’ll remember these Alaska favorites and flavors long after your Alaska visit!