6 Must-Try Local Alaska Dishes

Eating like a local is a brand-new adventure when it comes to Alaskan fare. In addition to being a treasure-trove of natural wonders, Alaska is also full of deliciously-fresh culinary creations. Here are six local dishes to try while you’re working in Alaska.

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  • Reindeer Sausage

    Native Alaskans have preserved game meats for decades. Among several smoked and cured meats are the non-native reindeer. The animals were introduced to Alaska in the later part of the 19th century. Their meat (especially spicy reindeer sausage) has become a staple of Alaska’s culinary scene and shows up on menus across the state. Seasoned, smoked, and sometimes combined with other cuts, reindeer sausages are a versatile food that works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

    Reindeer sausage can be found on our breakfast offerings at our hotels and lodges. You can even enjoy a bowl of our award-winning reindeer chili while riding our Holland America Princess Express train between Anchorage and Denali. And if you want to take this staple for the road, grab a bag of reindeer sausage jerky.

    Anything Salmon

    With such an abundance of wild salmon, it’s not hard to see why the pink fish makes the list of quintessential Alaskan dishes. From May to October, tens of thousands of salmon swim from the open ocean into Alaskan rivers to spawn. There are five wild salmon species, some of which top out at nearly one hundred pounds in weight.

    • The Sockeye, also known as red salmon, is perhaps the most well-known of the wild salmon and favored among salmon-lovers.
    • Silver salmon, the coho salmon, has a red-orange colored flesh and is considered one of the best salmon species for grilling.
    • The Chinook salmon is the largest wild Pacific salmon species and has been nicknamed King salmon. One of the more expensive salmon species, King also has the highest fat content, giving the fish a rich flavor.
    • Chum salmon, often called dog salmon, is noticeable for its light-colored flesh and lower oil content.
    • Humpback (pink) salmon is distinguishable from other species by the large hump on the fish’s back. Their light flavor makes them perfect for grilling or roasting.

    The native fish is enjoyed fresh, smoked, baked, or perfectly paired with cream cheese on a morning bagel. Employees and guests alike have the ability to experience salmon at our King Salmon Restaurant within Denali Princess Lodge.

    Our employees enjoy being an integral part of guest’s Catch and Cook experience at Kenai Princess and Copper River Princess Lodges. Cooks and servers prepare salmon caught during the guest’s morning salmon fishing excursion and serve it for dinner.

    Kaladi Brothers Coffee

    Coffee in Alaska is like tea in Britain—it’s part of the cultural identity. Perhaps coffee’s popularity has something to do with the varying sunlight through the seasons. Whatever the reason, in Alaska, coffee has a big presence. Making its first appearance in downtown Anchorage, Kaladi Brothers Coffee offered its first cup of coffee in 1984.

    Unlike your typical coffee roastery, Kaladi Brothers started out selling their coffee from a street cart. After two years in the making, Kaladi’s founder, Brad Bigelow, decided it was time to expand and open a full-scale roastery. That same year, Kaladi Brothers Company officially adopted its name. Today, Kaladi Brothers Coffee can be found in many different locations scattered in the state of Alaska. If you’d like to visit one of their fifteen physical locations, you can do so in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Soldotna.

    Fish and Chips

    Not just limited to England and other Commonwealth countries, fish and chips (actually fries) is a great way to enjoy the local seafood in Alaska. Usually made with cod, fish and chips are perfect for a bayside lunch, or as an appetizer before indulging in even more seafood. Up and down the Alaskan coast, boardwalk shops serve up crispy, golden, flaky fish with crunchy french fries to satiate hungry visitors. Grab a basket of fish and chips on your lunch break and savor a local favorite.

    Berry Cobbler

    Alaska is certainly well-known for its berries. From familiar blueberries to the more unusual cloudberries and lingonberries, they all make for lip-smacking treats you can pick. If you gather a couple of pints (or have the good fortune to visit a restaurant with a decent berry harvest), a berry cobbler is one of the best ways to savor the fruit. With a cake-like cover and caramelized sugar on top, cobblers remain a perfect conclusion to any meal. Order your cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and your night is made.

    King Crab Legs

    Few things say Alaska like king crab does. The short (and very dangerous) king crab fishing season makes them a delicacy which is shipped all over the world. Prepared in a dozen different ways, from casseroles to crab cakes, restaurants across Alaska feature king crab legs on their menus.

    Looking to treat yourself to something uniquely Alaskan? Splurge for an order of king crab legs. Make sure to drench them in garlic butter and add a squeeze of lemon. Bon appetit!

    Ready to visit? Check out these open positions to work for Alaska lodges and hotels, and get ready to dazzle your taste buds.