Don't let images of desolate Arctic tundra fool you. Alaska is teeming with delicious dishes that you have to try on your trip to the Last Frontier. Especially if you're into surf and turf. Simply put, Alaska is a paradise for seafood lovers and fans of big game dinners.
Here are 10 Alaskan delicacies to sample while visiting America's northernmost state.
1. Red King Crab Legs
King crabs are among the largest crustaceans in the world, with some boasting a six-foot leg-span and weighing over 20 pounds. And they have monstrous flavor too. You can't go wrong sampling any of Alaska's three species of crab - red, blue and golden. But connoisseurs around the world say the very best of the best is the Alaska Red King Crab, which is sweeter and more tender than the rest.
2. Wild Salmon
Alaska's other iconic seafood dish is worthy of its reputation. But you can't just order salmon up north: you've got to pick which of the Last Frontier's 5 species - king, coho, sockeye, chum or pink - pairs best with your flavor palette. And if you're particularly adventurous, you can sign up for a chartered fishing trip and catch your own dinner.
3. Alaskan Halibut
Halibut is arguably Alaska's most versatile fish. You can get it charbroiled like a burger, stuffed with crab, encrusted with herbs and in many other forms. But whichever way you get it, the Alaskan halibut's underlying sweet, delicate flavor is always the same.
4. Caribou Chili
If you need to warm up with a hearty meal after a day of hiking, head out for some caribou chili - a gamier version of the homestyle classic that's available in many regions of the state. Or you can make it at home with this recipe.
5. Seafood Etouffe
If you want to get really warm, really quick, grab some seafood etouffe. Alaskans have added a northern spin on this spicy cajun dish by adding reindeer sausage to the mix of scallops, clams, prawns and veggies.
6. Bacon-Wrapped Reindeer Medallions
7. Reindeer Hot Dogs
For some uniquely Alaskan street meat, ask local city dwellers where you can grab a reindeer hot dog on the go. Just don't order any in the town of North Pole or you might end up on Santa's naughty list.
8. Moose Steak
You don't see this hearty Alaskan feast at restaurants very often. So you might have to ask the locals where you can get a cut. Once you do, you won't have trouble finding an authentic Alaskan recipe online.
Another well-kept secret up north is the distinctly Alaskan dessert called Akutaq (pronounced "AUK-goo-duck"). Or you can refer to it by its other name, "Eskimo Ice Cream." But beware: this indigenous treat isn't for the faint of heart. Ingredients commonly include hard fat (from caribou, bear or muskox), sea or whale oil and mashed berries.
If you can't find anyone selling it, you can always try making some yourself.
For Alaska's ultimate culinary challenge, look no further than the indigenous delicacy muktuk - frozen bowhead whale skin and blubber. The Inuit and other northern tribes traditionally eat muktuk raw, thinly sliced and sprinkled with salt.
Some say it tastes like coconut, other say fried eggs, but to find out, you might need to hire a bush pilot and fly up to one of Alaska's northernmost communities. If you're daring enough to try it, that is.