9 Foods You Must Eat in Alaska and Where to Find Them

Alaska may conjure up images of glaciers, the northern lights, and maybe moose, but the cuisine might not come to mind when you think of Grande Terre. Truth be told, Alaska is full of must-try local dishes. From wild seafood freshly caught in the North Pacific Ocean and wild berries grown in rich glacial soils to the distinctive taste of reindeer, Alaska offers several local delicacies. The journey awaits you Contributors Heide Brandes and Meryl Pearlstein tell us about their favorite Alaskan dishes and where to find them in Anchorage.

Heide’s picks:

Reindeer hot dogs on a mobile cart grill in Anchorage

Photo credit: Roy Neese / Visit Anchorage

1. Reindeer sausage

Where to find it:

  • The Alaskan Sausage and Seafood Company
  • Snow Town Cafe

Did you know that caribou and reindeer are actually the same species within the deer family? In Alaska they are called caribou in the wild but called reindeer once domesticated. These animals are very common in Alaska, with approximately 750,000 roaming the state. Although wild game meat cannot be served in restaurants, which is why you won’t find moose on many menus, delicious domestic reindeer dishes can be found in many restaurants.

The Alaska Sausage and Seafood Company sells a wide range of gourmet wieners made with reindeer, but you can also find reindeer at the Snow City Cafe as a breakfast side dish or in the Tundra Scramble, a massive breakfast plate. filled with Alaskan reindeer sausage, mixed peppers, mushrooms, red onion and cheddar cheese.

Pro tip: Get to Snow City Cafe early, especially on weekends, if you don’t want to wait an hour or more for the huge breakfasts, famous Eggs Benedicts and fluffy pancakes.

Fresh Alaskan king crab served in Anchorage

Fresh Alaskan king crab served in Anchorage

Photo credit: JodyO.Photos / Visit Anchorage

2. Alaskan king crab

Where to find it:

  • Glacier BrewHouse
  • Humpy’s Great Alaskan Tavern
  • At Simon and Seafort

As one of the priciest dishes on any menu, no trip to Alaska is complete without tackling the massive Alaskan King Crab. Harvested off the coast of the Bering Sea and southeast Alaska, blue king crab, red king crab, and golden king crab are highly sought after delicacies, and restaurants like Anchorage’s Glacier BrewHouse and Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse often feature this specialty on their menus.

Known as Simon’s by locals, Simon and Seafort’s also have a 20-ounce serving of Alaskan King Crab Legs on their menu.

Pro tip: These massive crabs can be an adventure to eat. Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, as eating king crab can get quite wild.

View from the outdoor patio of the 49th State Brewing Co.

View from the outdoor patio of the 49th State Brewing Co.

Photo credit: JodyO.Photos / Visit Anchorage

3. Locally sourced yak

Where to find it:

  • 49th State Brewing Co.
  • central market

Although yak is not native to Alaska, locally sourced yak has made its way onto Anchorage menus, thanks to a few creative ranchers who claim yak is the next trend in healthy, lean meat. .

You can decide for yourself at the 49th State Brewing, which serves a fun Yak-a-Dilla (a quesadilla made from yak raised in Alaska) and the “World Famous Yak Burger,” a half-pound monster at base of smoked Gouda cheese, caramelized onions and applewood smoked bacon.

If yak isn’t your thing, 49th State Brewing also has an Elk Smash burger that’s also locally sourced.

Anchorage’s Central Market, the only year-round farmer’s market in Alaska, features vendors like Sunny Hill Ranch who raise and sell the wares of these large, hairy, horned creatures.

Alaskan salmon with Asian ingredients and local vegetables at Crush Bistro

Alaskan salmon with Asian ingredients and local vegetables at Crush Bistro

Photo credit: Meryl Pearlstein

4. Alaskan Salmon

Where to find it:

  • Bridge Seafood Restaurant
  • Humpy’s Great Alaskan Tavern

Chinook salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon, sockeye salmon – this variety of pink-fleshed fish reigns supreme in Alaskan waters, and you’ll have no problem finding restaurants that serve salmon in creative and delicious ways. .

The Bridge Seafood Restaurant on the shores of Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage serves “salmon of the day” and visitors can watch salmon being caught along Ship Creek while enjoying their meal.

Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse also serves a variety of salmon dishes on the menu, ranging from smoked salmon chowder and smoked salmon dip to salmon and scallop fettuccine and salmon burgers. While you explore all the salmon choices at Humpy’s, sip Humpy’s Bloody Marys made with smoked salmon vodka.

Blueberries in Arctic Valley

Blueberries in Arctic Valley

Photo credit: Arctic Valley

5. Alaskan Berries

Where to find it:

  • Glacier BrewHouse
  • Farmers markets
  • Arctic Valley Ski Resort

If you’ve never had the exquisite explosion of flavors that spring from Alaskan berries, you’re missing out on one of the state’s sweetest experiences. Berries of all kinds grow wild and in Alaskan farms and gardens, including salmon berries, cranberries, lingonberries, strawberries, and more.

For a hoppy taste of local berries, try Glacier BrewHouse’s Raspberry Wheat, an unfiltered wheat beer loaded with 210 pounds of real red raspberries, or its Huckleberry Collins cocktail, made with local vodka and blueberries. Those looking for a non-alcoholic option will definitely enjoy the Frontier Wild Blueberry Cream Soda at 49th State Brewing.

Vegetables at the Anchorage Market and Festival

Vegetables at the Anchorage Market and Festival

Photo credit: Visit Anchorage

During the summer months, farmers’ markets are open every day of the week in Anchorage, and no matter what day you visit, you’re likely to find some of the local berries. You can also choose yours at the Arctic Valley Ski Area at the top of Arctic Valley Road, aptly named “Blueberry Hill,” above the Glen Alps Trail to Chugach State Park.

Meryl’s picks:

Lakefront Anchorage outdoor patio

Lakefront Anchorage outdoor patio

Photo credit: Jack Bonney / Visit Anchorage

6. Sourdough

Where to find it:

  • Simon & Seafort’s
  • Anchorage by the lake

San Francisco isn’t the only city to claim sourdough as a culinary specialty. Anchorage has made sourdough a staple, serving it plain, reheated, grilled, or slathered in butter. At Simon & Seafort, the bread is served hot, and I dare you not to ask for a second serving. Try it, if available, at the iconic restaurant on the Lakefront Anchorage Bridge, accompanied by a generous plate of halibut fish and chips as you watch the seaplanes land on Lake Hood.

Halibut cheeks are a delicacy and specialty at Simon & Seafort's

Halibut cheeks are a delicacy and specialty at Simon & Seafort’s

Photo credit: Meryl Pearlstein

7. Halibut cheeks

Where to find it:

Everyone has heard of Alaskan halibut and some have probably tasted it. But if you haven’t tasted halibut cheeks, you’ve missed something more delicious. Soft, tender portions of the muscle removed from the halibut head are a specialty of the famed Simon & Seafort restaurant in Anchorage. Pan-fried with a light layer of panko and asiago breadcrumbs and a fillet of White butter, the oval-shaped halibut cheeks pair particularly well with the view from one of the restaurant’s window tables. Try them with a Midnight Sun Kodiak Brown Ale or a Broken Tooth IPA.

View from the Seven Glaciers Restaurant at Alyeska Resort

View from the Seven Glaciers Restaurant at Alyeska Resort

Photo credit: Ralph Kristopher / Visit Anchorage

8. Scallops

Where to find it:

  • Restaurant of the Seven Glaciers
  • favorite bistro
  • Kincaid Grill

Alaskan scallops feature on menus in Anchorage. Buttery and wild, they’re a cut above East Coast bay or sea scallops. At the upscale restaurant Seven Glaciers at the Alyeska Resort, scallop bisque is made with seared Alaskan weathervane scallops, smoked salmon mousse and chive oil. Available on both the restaurant’s full menu and the small-bite bar menu, the warming soup is delicious any time of year and pairs well with an Alyeska Brewski, a hazy lager made especially for the restaurant. by the neighboring Girdwood Brewing Company. If you’re not planning a visit to the mountains, you can find scallops at many seafood-focused restaurants in Anchorage, including Crush Bistro where they’re served with a red coconut curry, or at the Kincaid Grill. prepared à la niçoise with olives, tomatoes, and lemon butter swimming.

reindeer hot dog

reindeer hot dog

Photo credit: Roy Neese / Visit Anchorage

9. Hot dogs

Where to find it:

  • Tia’s Gourmet Sausages and Hot Dogs

Yes, these are an Anchorage thing. You can order the familiar, beef-based version, or be bold and try something you’ll only find in Anchorage, reindeer hot dogs. Sold at restaurants and outdoor hot dog stands, my favorite hot dog was the “hot” reindeer version at Tia’s Gourmet Sausage and Hotdogs in front of the Anchorage Visitor Center. Spice it up even more with a choice of eight sauces in squeeze bottles, including spicy aioli, spicy mustard and spicy mayonnaise. Just look for the bright yellow umbrella.

Cider cup at Cynosure Brewing

Cider cup at Cynosure Brewing

Photo credit: Wayde Carroll / Visit Anchorage

Bonus: Brewing

Where to find it:

  • Midnight Sun Brewing Company
  • King Street Brewing Company
  • Cynosure Brewery
  • Double Shovel Cider Co.

With more than a dozen breweries, thirsty visitors can sample a variety of craft beers in Anchorage. Some of the favorites are the Panty Peeler, a Belgian-style tripel, and the brewery’s flagship India pale ale Sockeye Red served ice cold at Anchorage’s oldest brewery, the Midnight Sun Brewing Company.

King Street Brewing Company’s eponymous King Street IPA is the most popular IPA in town, but you can also choose a Hefeweizen, lager, APA or stout from the brewery’s extensive drinks menu, or at Simon & Seafort’s, among others. Cynosure Brewing is another great locally-approved option, serving Belgian-style ales and lagers. You can even take away their growlers!

Cider lovers can also sample Alaskan berries in seasonal versions at Double Shovel Cider Co. in Anchorage. Or stick to the regulars, Appalanche Semi-Dry and Forget-Me-Hopped.

Pro tip: For a quirky keepsake, the Midnight Sun Brewing Company’s colorful cans are works of art. Take it home.

For even more things to eat (and drink!) in Anchorage, Alaska, click here.

Related Reading:

  1. 9 Things to Know Before Your First Trip to Anchorage, Alaska
  2. 7 Fantastic Outdoor Summer Experiences in Anchorage, Alaska
  3. The Best Things To See And Do In Anchorage, Alaska

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