Discover what’s on the menu while cruising the 49th state.
By Janice Wald Henderson
The first time I cruised Alaska, I flew to Taku Glacier Lodge for a wild king salmon feast. As the freshly caught fish sizzled over alder wood, I laughed at the size of the giant filets. Then I ate an entire one. And another. The texture was velvet, sliding down my throat like fine wine. The flavor? Sinfully rich, startlingly delicious.
For years, I pushed away every Alaskan salmon I ordered in the Lower 48. In its travels — even just to California — salmon’s flavor and texture had deteriorated. So if you’re cruising Alaska soon, I’m envious. Get ready for salmon that’s revelatory — and much more.
Know Your Salmon ABCs
Five species are commonly caught in Alaska: king (or Chinook), sockeye (red), coho (silver), pink (humpies), and chum (dog). King is the most prized, beloved for its high-fat content, luscious flavor, and silken texture. Sockeye, with its deep red color and slightly less oil content, makes great sushi. Mild coho is often used for grilling, smoking, and canning. We rarely see pink or chum, which are usually canned and sold overseas.
Ketchikan hosts its Blueberry Arts Festival August 5–7, 2016. Rub shoulders with locals and expect goodies such as blueberry-infused jam, honey, and other imaginative eats. Maybe you’re up for a blueberry pie–eating contest. (I hear the purple-stained tongue part is free.)
Nobu + Alaska = Dream Cruise
Cruise with a superstar chef/fish whisperer in Alaska? Sign me up. Superstar Chef Nobu Matsuhisa joins Crystal Serenity for a 10-day roundtrip Vancouver sailing departing July 17, 2016. The iconic Japanese-Peruvian fusion master will hold a cooking demonstration, book signing, and multicourse omakase (chef’s choice) dinners in Silk Road, where his cuisine is regularly featured.
O is for Oysters
Who knew Alaska is a slam-dunk for oyster devotees? While bivalves are not native to Alaskan waters, farmers are discovering that the cold water and plankton abundance make for ideal growing conditions year-round. Primo oyster farms are popping up near cruise ports, including Ketchikan and Juneau. Check out….
Photo: Bon Appetit/Alamy