Think Alaska and you’ll probably picture bears catching salmon in creeks, moose crossing solitary roads or even whale hunting in the Arctic seas. But food? I dare say you didn’t even consider eating something to be done when visiting the last frontier. Yet there’s good news, because as I recently discovered the food scene in Juneau (and Alaska) is flourishing with an array of unique meals and local ingredients that will change any food expectations you may have. Similar to the delicious food I ate in Finland it is based on natural ingredients, combining seafood and meat with berries, vegetables and broths.
Our first surprise cam less than an hour after landing in Juneau. About ten minutes after leaving the airport I was already taking pictures of the first glacier I would see in my trip, Mendenhall Glacier, a behemoth of a glacier which cannot be easier to reach from a city. Right after this visit I headed for something to eat at the Twisted Fish Alaskan Grill, an inconspicuous restaurant (closed in winter) popular among locals and ferry tourists in the summer as it’s right in front of the docks. The menu was interesting enough with mostly seafood dishes that you simply don’t find everywhere, but what blew me away was the flavor of my dish of choice: a boneless salmon fillet with crab meat, bay shrimp, seasoned with cream cheese in a light puffy pastry with side of baked potatoes and wild berry chutney. Full of flavor, colorful, mouthwatering, unique… an experience all in itself.
And it’s because of this first dish that I was looking forward to my Juneau Food Tour the following day.
Juneau Food Tours: Eating Around Juneau
Juneau Food Tours is owned and run by Kelly Moore- but just call her Midgi. As she points out she started the tours to “share my passion for food and my love of this picturesque city. Each tasting location was chosen to highlight the delicious food, intriguing culture, and beautiful scenery of Southeast Alaska.” and hats off, she does achieve this very well. Funny, charming, and definitely knowledgeable, Midgi’s passion for food and the local food scene captures you as soon as you meet her.
The tour starts at the Alaskan Commercial Fisherman’s Memorial which tributes all the fishermen who have perished while in duty at the treacherous waters of the Alaskan seas, and then takes you along the harbor and through the center of Juneau stopping along the different eateries to sample the food. Yet even better is the fact that the tour is not only about food: Midgi is also passionate about the city she now calls home and shares history and fun facts about Alaska’s small yet invigorating capital . For example, you’ll “meet” Patsy Ann, Juneau’s official canine greeter and will have the opportunity to share what’s on your bucket list at the “Before I Die” public blackboard.
What Food Do you Eat, and Where?
Jueau Food Tours last about three hours on a one mile walk along mostly flat streets. The tour stops at nine eateries where you’s get to sample local specialties which include:
- Tracy’s King Crab Shack King crab bisque and a crab cake
- Alaska Knifeworks Salmon dip, bull kelp marmalade
- V’s Cellar Door Halibut fusion nachos
- Panhandle Provisions House made charcuterie
- SALT Alaskan cod taco with wine pairing
- Alaskan Hotel & Bar Locally brewed beer
- JCP Confections Gourmet marshmallow treat
- Wings Airway’s/Taku Glacier Lodge Famous gingersnap cookies
- Chef Stef’s Delicious toffee
What Do I Think About the Tour?
Anyone who’s passionate about food and doesn’t have may days to spend in Juneau should join this tour, even if you’re in one of the cruise ships and have meals paid for already. In fact I particularly recommend this tour if you’re one of these people, as the quality of the meals is second to none and, let’s face it: when are you going to have another chance to eat good quality local food in Juneau without running the risk of eating at the wrong places?
Midgi is fun, entertaining and refreshing, the historical facts she shares are a great complement to the food tour, and by the end of the tour you ARE full: you do eat quite a bit during the tour. All things considered I highly recommend this tour particularly again if you just have a day or two to spend in Juneau because you’re visiting with a cruise. Otherwise you can explore on your own and hope for the best!
Are you visiting Juneau? What role does food play when you travel? Still not sure if this tours is something you should do? Fell free to ask me more questions in the comments section below and share this post if you think other foodies going to Juneau might find in useful!
I was a guest of Juneau Food Tours, however all opinions and images in this post are entirely my own.