Alaska is an alluring destination on principle alone; while its magnificent mountain ranges and incredible lakeside landscapes are what captures the heart of many travelers, it's the food across the state that often shows up as a surprise on their radars. It's easy enough to get lost in the wild and untamed nature of Alaska and forget, momentarily, that it's a state in the U.S. - but that doesn't mean this state doesn't have its own unique cuisine.
The food staples of Alaska come from a combination of what has been available for centuries as well as what's in abundance now. This fusion of the old and the new is something to love about the state's most iconic dishes and while they might not appeal to everyone, they should be tried at least once. It's often said that in order to understand a culture and a community, the first, and easiest, way to do that is through its food. Alaska is no exception to the rule and if anyone had their interest piqued prior to this, then allow the potential scent of smoked salmon and berry cobbler to add to the list of why this state deserves so much more attention.
Kaladi Brothers Coffee
It's pretty likely that anyone visiting Alaska will notice how important coffee is to the daily routines of locals. It shouldn't be lost on travelers that coffee is the best start to the day and the power of a well-brewed cup should not be underestimated... especially if it's by Kaladi Brothers.
This coffee shop originated in Anchorage and has been around since 1984, making a statement in Alaska over the next few decades. To this day, the roastery sells coffee from 15 different locations across the state and visitors should check it out at least once during their stay.
Salmon, In Any Form
Sure, it's possible that an Alaskan fisherman might have to fight off a grizzly in order to reel their catch in but that hasn't stopped anyone yet. All joking aside, Alaska is the home of wild salmon, from Sockeye to Silver and Chinook.
Chum and Humpback salmon are also caught around the state, though, so the options are truly endless. Each one has different flavors and oil contents which make them better suited for certain dishes, and any number of them can be found anywhere from high-end restaurants to bagel shops.
For anyone who has seen Deadliest Catch, it's a well-known fact that Alaska is the reigning champion of this shellfish. Not only is king crab delicious, but the supple meat is perfectly suited for some garlic and butter - and absolutely nothing else.
In fact, locals will likely shoot a person a dirty look for requesting something like cocktail sauce or another condiment that will destroy the delicate flavor of this crab. This is another menu item that can be found all over Alaska and while it's a bit pricier, it's well worth it.
Specifically, wild berries! During the summer months, mainly during August, berry bushes dot the horizons of many open territories.
Alaska is home to a wide range of berries that couldn't be picked fresher and for anyone who happens to be there during the peak season, it's a true delight. Berry cobbler is one of the best ways to cook up the delicious, tart, and sweet berries, but pies are also a common bakery and dessert item in restaurants during the season.
In a classic case of 'don't knock it until you try it' reindeer meat might throw off some people as visions of The Night Before Christmas start rolling around their heads.
However, that has not stopped it from becoming an iconic Alaskan dish and one that's well-loved by the locals so even if someone isn't game for trying it, it's not likely they'll be able to escape it, either. The sausage is usually a mix of reindeer meat and either pork or mince beef, and it's eaten most commonly with breakfast.
Fish And Chips
In addition to salmon, Alaska is home to some extraordinarily fresh seafood, much of which gets turned into fish and chips.
This is a unique way to try other fish in Alaska as it's usually served quite simply with a side of fries, a few lemon wedges, and homemade tartar sauce. Halibut is usually used for fish and chips, specifically, while other fish, such as rockfish and cioppino, are turned into fish tacos or stews.
Fry bread is exactly what it sounds like - fried bread. There's nothing particularly special about this bread unless you know its history with Alaska. Originally, it was thought that the bread was a Native American creation that came out of the need to use flour, fat, and sugar and turn it into something edible.
Following the outlawing of their hunting practices and the destruction of their crops, fry bread was the first thing to come out of such a tragic time and has remained a staple in Alaskan culture to this day.