Traditional and Unconventional: Delicacies of Alaska

Delicious Alaskan Dishes You Must Try

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  • Eating local is a big deal for foodies these days, and the foods of Alaska are some of the best in the world. Here are some specialties to try when you’re visiting America’s northernmost state.

  • Reindeer

    Don’t tell Rudolph, but reindeer meat is leaner and healthier than beef or pork. Combine its wild flavor with the free-range, grass-fed allure and you have a fantastic filet that is good for you and good for the environment. Plus, when you eat reindeer in Alaska, you are satisfying your inner locavore.

  • Bear

    Another great local meat is bear. While it’s not usually commercially available, bear meat is said to be even tastier than a fine steak. Be sure to cook the meat thoroughly if you are preparing it yourself. Eating undercooked bear meat can lead to trichinosis.

  • Moose

    One more lean and nutritious meat that is much easier to find in Alaska is moose. In fact, the LIVESTRONG Foundation recommends moose as a healthy alternative to beef. Combine the health benefits with the fact that moose meat tastes very similar to veal, and you know it’s time to apply for your moose permit.

  • Copper River Salmon

    There are salmon and then there are Copper River Salmon. Alaska’s wild Copper River is so fast running and filled with so many rapids that fish must store extra fat to survive the journey to their spawning grounds. All that fat makes for delicious eating, and the red flesh of this fish is gorgeous on any plate.

  • Alaskan King Crab Legs

    Prepare to feast on the largest crab in the world (males can be as large as 5 feet across). This crab is so sizable that the legs alone make a banquet. Inside the hard, red shell, you will find some of the sweetest, most tender meat you have ever tasted. Get the most out of your meal by properly preparing the crab.

  • Wild Berries

    Typical Alaskan dishes aren’t especially vegetarian-friendly, but Alaska’s intense summers make for a perfect growing season for a wide selection of delicious berries. Pick your favorite from blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and more exotic selections such as salmon berries and mossberries. Or you can eat them all. They’re super-healthy.

  • Truly Unconventional Alaskan Foods (for the Brave of Heart)

    Whether you are playing Truth or Dare or merely looking to take your taste buds on a local adventure, Alaska’s Native cultures have some, um, interesting delicacies to try.

  • Muktuk

    The Eskimo and Chukchi enjoy this culinary delight. Take whale skin and blubber (most often from the bowhead whale), freeze it and eat it raw. This special dish is actually quite beautiful – with the skin on (some cultures eat the fat only) it looks like a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich or a large block of sushi.

  • Akutaq – Alaskan Ice Cream

    What do you get when you whip reindeer fat, seal oil, snow and berries to a foamy consistency? Eskimo ice cream! There are many versions of this delicacy using different fats and berries. Some modern versions are even made with vegetable shortening and sugar. Don’t wimp out on us…try the real deal.

  • Stinkheads

    Though stinkheads have been named one of the 10 most disgusting delicacies, many cultures preserve and enhance their food by burying it and letting it rot before eating it – think kimchee or haggis. Alaska’s special spin on this practice is called “stinkheads” or “tepa.” The Yup’ik bury the heads of whitefish for a week or more until they’re nice and ready.

  • Bonus points if you eat your stinkheads with stink eggs (same idea but using salmon roe).

    The best way to get a chance to try some of these Alaskan delicacies is by working up here! Find a great summer job in Alaska, apply for it online, and then tap your inner foodie for a little adventurous dining. And if you already work in Alaska or have visited, which Alaskan foods would you recommend?