"Real" Alaskan food

My wife and I will be doing our first cruise to Alaska in May. We will have port days in Skagway, Ketchikan, and Juneau. Cruise ends in Anchorage! Are there any restaurants in these cities that serve "real" Alaskan foods like bear, moose and caribou. Happy We'd be interested hearing about experiences and/or suggestions! Thanks

Whitetrike

Tags: Alaska - Inside Passage

14 Answers

Gonna answer by not answering...we made that trip, and all it proved to me was to see/experience Alaska, taking a cruise isn't how to do it. We're glad we made the trip, seemed like a big deal, but now we'd have to plan something a bit more authentic. Didn't have to go to Alaska to eat bear meat..did it right around here....explains why our forefathers probably had bad attitudes most of the time. And carried a lot of tooth picks..We have moose, mostly protected, and as for caribou? where was it yesterday? Mebbe ol KENNICOT can chime in...

Not sure what happened KENN....got an email notification that you replied to this...interesting answer...however it didn't appear HERE...it DID say 2 answers, mine, and then nada...this will make 3...another glitch??

Yea, I tried, this is the third time. I provided 4 links in the first attempts that described Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game's descriptions of shellfish, Game animals, Birds and other wild stock. I will eliminate those with this attempt. C.C. didn't have a problem with the same post. This same question was posted in another forum this morning. Below is my response. But I didn't mention bear meat. Generally speaking nobody likes brown bear (Grizzly) meat. But a lot of folk love black bear meat as long as it hasn't been a black bear on the coast eating fish. I have a friend in my summer hang out who really can cook black bear, the first time I ate at their house she made it, I thought I was eating beef pot roast at first until she told me. I should have known that though as when I was in college I belonged to the wildlife club and we would have a wild game dinner. Most of the game meat I don't care for though and I sure am not going to kill a bear and have to eat it. I did that once with a moose and by spring I thought I might be in rut. Ovis Dali sheep (white sheep) though are the best meat of anything. But very difficult to get some, because you have to pack it off the mountain and the season is short. In a stew, which my wife makes, it is out of this world. "I don't know of any restaurant that has Alaska game on the menu other than reindeer, namely sausage. Seafood and shellfish are another story, you find those available everywhere. As for Alaskan's personal diets involving wildlife, one has to distinguish between indigenous Alaskans and other Alaskans who supplement their diets extensively with wild game, seafood and shellfish. Indigenous Alaskans eat a lot of seal, walrus and whale as well as common game, seafood and shellfish. Game are wild animals and birds. Large native game animals living in Alaska include buffalo, bear, deer, elk, moose, reindeer/caribou, Rocky Mountain Goat, White Sheep and musk ox. Small game includes rabbit, squirrel, beaver, muskrat, and porcupine.

In my he three ports you are visiting I do not know of any restaurants that have on their menu what you are looking for. You will primarily find Salmon and crab . In Juneau I hear everyone rave about Tracy’s crab shack. However, it is really expensive and I have not gone. Skagway, I always go to Skagway Brewery. Good beer and good food. Enjoy your cruise.

i use yelp to find restaurants in towns we visit

Look for the "King" Salmon - not much of that gets shipped to the lower 48. You won't want to go back to Sockeye.

Don't eat bear, moose or caribou in Ketchikan. It's the salmon capital of the world! In May, you should be able to find King Salmon. Real Alaskans do eat things like hamburgers - at the Burger Queen in Ketchikan. I know locals will go to the Bar Harbor Restaurant and Annabelles. The Alaska Fish House is popular with tourists but not sure how many locals eat there. The restaurant in the Cape Fox Hotel just above Creek Street is also a place locals will go. These places are all within walking distance of the cruise ship docks.

You can get some game meats at Red Dog Saloon in Juneau. Recommend having King Salmon - you won't go back to Atlantic or Sockeye after it. Sockeye is what they export.

Atlantic Salmon are farmed fish. All five species of Alaska salmon are wild stock. Huge difference. In terms of value number one is King (Chinook) #2 Red (Sockeye) #3 Coho (Silver) #4 Chum (Dog) #5 Pink (Humpback). When I grew up on the coast of Alaska in a fishing community Reds demanded the highest price, Kings were number two, reason given was that the Reds had a slightly higher fat content than the Kings did but then they all went into cans back then. I talk to biologists and others in the industry today and they don't seem to recall that pricing.

Anyway, with the ability to ship fresh or flash frozen Kings were no longer canned. Canned Reds demand a very high price today so they are hard to find unless part of a fancy pack in tourist shops. For the most part, both Kings and Reds are sold fresh or flash frozen and shipped by air to rich markets in the lower 48. Compared to exports, both to the lower 48 or overseas, very little salmon is consumed in the State due to our low population. The high volume money fish for export is the smallest of them all and that is the Humpbacks.

https://www.alaskaseafood.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Spring2016-Alaska-Seafood-Exports-Final.pdf

https://ebooks.alaskaseafood.org/ASMI_Seafood_Impacts_Dec2015/pubData/source/ASMI%20Alaska%20Seafood%20Impacts%20Final%20Dec2015%20-%20low%20res.pdf

I just posted this on another thread when someone wanted to know how to order salmon for shipment home------"In two weeks the first wild stock salmon of the season should start to hit the market, fresh from the Copper River Delta to your home. Pre-ordering now is possible. These are the richest salmon in the world. The Kings (Chinook) are very expensive and the Sockeye (Reds) are not far behind. I suggest the sockeye. I would give the season a few weeks for the prices to stabilize, then order.

http://www.copperriverseafoods.com/pre-order-wild-copper-river-sockeye-salmon-8-oz-portions-5-lbs-fresh/

https://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/03/dining/wild-alaskan-salmon-glory-days-are-here-for-next-two-weeks-copper-river-salmon.html

During the winters the Alaska World Affairs Council has periodic lunches featuring world class lecturers. It occurred to me that the 49th State Brewing Company (where many of the lunches take place) has quite a menu with some wild game including Elk, Reindeer (caribou), Buffalo and Yak as well as many varieties of Alaska Seafood. Their restaurant is located in the middle of downtown less than a block away from the big Anchorage Hilton high rise (high rise for Alaska that is) and two blocks away from the Captain Cook Hotel "The Cook". Their pizzas include all of those items and are very good. My favorite is their seafood chowder.

https://www.49statebrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/49th-ANC-menu2018.pdf https://www.49statebrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018-49th-State-Denali-menu-full.pdf

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