If everything’s bigger in Texas, it’s biggest in Alaska. Alaska alone has a pristine 34,000 miles of coastline. Its cold, clear waters provide endless menu options.
If everything’s bigger in Texas, it’s biggest in Alaska. Alaska alone has a pristine 34,000 miles of coastline. Its cold, clear waters provide endless menu options, such as oysters, scallops, shrimp, sablefish, halibut, cod, and king crab. Alaska's lands have a storied history, which dates back to around 12,000 B.C.
Most of Alaska's culinary styles come from the traditional cooking of its native people and call for natural ingredients like seafood, wild game, and berries.
Inuit Indians are the most numerous Alaskan natives. Many Inuit people make livings as fishermen, hunters, and fur trappers. In Alaska, whatever’s around is what you’re gonna eat. Seal, whale, caribou, walrus, polar bear, arctic hare, fish, birds, and berries all made up the customary cuisine. Because there’s no shortage of seafood options available, native Alaskans rely heavily on fish as a dietary staple— particularly preserved, making a form of fish jerky, to eat all the time.
One thing can be said about Salmon in Alaska: there’s A LOT of it. Salmon spawn in fresh water, migrate out to sea, and when they are mature, return to fresh water to complete their life cycle. When this happens, thousands of fishermen, including sport fisherman from all over the world, eagerly await the salmons' return. They catch 33% of the world’s total in these waters. Pretty crazy.
Another famous catch is the Alaska King Crab, known for its tender, sweet meat. Fishermen brave some pretty stupid conditions to bring these giant crabs to your plate.
When it comes to the Pacific Northwest, the biggest question is, “Why are you still reading this? Why haven’t you booked a flight to get up here and experience some delicious seafood!?”
Seafood in The Pacific Northwest: Washington, Oregon
Oregon’s coast, Washington's San Juan Islands, the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, and the Columbia River Gorge are all wonderful recreation havens for fishing, hiking, kayaking, and camping.
For the wine connoisseur, the Pacific Northwest’s wineries offer exploration of infinite accompaniment options to your favorite seafood dishes. Exploring Northwest wineries is a bit like globe hopping: each region has its own terroir, ecological footprint, and culture that yields entire wine stores’ worth of wines.
There’s little agreement about what territories actually fall into the area known as “The Pacific Northwest.” But we’ll explore the Pac NW that stretches from Oregon allllllllllll the way up to Alaska.
Residents of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon typically cite wilderness and scenic beauty as the top draws for living in their region. And, within that wilderness is a giant stockpile of deliciousness: seafood, wild mushrooms, vegetables and berries, coffee, wine, and craft beer, to scratch the surface.
Our local ingredients have fins!
The best chefs in the Pacific Northwest prepare and present foods ruled by simplicity and clear flavor notes, with no one ingredient dominating the others. They stress the use of fresh, local ingredients. And, there’s one thing in this region in particular that’s available in fresh, local droves: seafood.
Salmon don’t travel in schools in the Pacific Northwest. They travel in state universities! They’re copious. Several varieties of local salmon are easy to prepare and are known as healthy protein sources. Many restaurants plank-roast salmon on cedar or alder wood, in the tradition of several of the coastal Native American tribes of the region. Another popular option is to sauté or bake the salmon with a soy or teriyaki-based sauce. If none of these is up your alley, it’s always nice to step right outdoors and introduce a sauce of local huckleberries or chanterelle mushrooms.
Dungeness crab, Alaska king crab, scallops, mussels, and clams are a few of the other seafood choices. The region also has a large oyster cultivation industry. They eat ‘em barbecued, baked, fried, or raw on the half shell.
Next time, we’ll take a closer look at how each state in the region contributes to seafood enjoyment.