The Pacific Northwest Food Scene

pacif-northwest-seafood-2How the food scene looks in Pacific Northwest and Portland Oregon

Whether you are living in the area or just visiting, knowing what you can eat and where to eat it is always a good thing. In fact, when we plan to travel somewhere, besides making reservations for the plane ticket and hotel room, we will search for the best restaurants in the area. We want to make sure that we know where to eat when hunger hits. And since we all have our preferences, we research to find the best food and discover where not go.  At times, avoiding bad food is better than discovering good good. 

If you end up in the Pacific Northwest area and you love seafood, there is some good news for you. The region is famous for its amazing seafood due to its proximity to the Oregon Coast. It would be almost like visiting the Mediterranean, although the flavors do differ. Also, if you like eating healthy, you will find many restaurants use fresh and local ingredients.  In the Pacific Northwest many restaurant managers prefer to buy what they need from local farmers, to make sure that everything is fresh and has the intense flavor they need for outstanding dishes. The volcanic soils in the area, extremely rich and fertile, allow various crops to be successfully grown here, providing a wide array of fresh produce year round.

It can’t be said that there is a particular cuisine in the area, the recipes found here being influenced by many cuisines of the world. But, even though the cuisine is not properly defined, there are some ingredients that make the food here exceptional. What to eat here? As mentioned before, seafood and fish are abundant in Pacific Northwest, so you must try them if you are in the region. Anything from the Pacific salmon, herring, halibut, and dungeness crab, are available and cooked in a variety of ways. The dungeness crab is considered to be a delicacy and will not be found all year round, due to cabbing regulations. This type of crab is an endangered species, so dungeness crab fishing is limited and strictly controlled by conservationists who try to save the crab.  The ideal time to go crabbing in the Pacific Northwest is in the late summer and fall when the crabs have the most meat on them.  But, on the other hand, the salmon comes in sufficient quantities and is much preferred.  In fact, the Columbia River basin is known worldwide for their delicious Salmon.  Salmon can be cured before cooking, smoked, dried to make jerky, and even canned. You can easily find extremely fresh fish in the local markets, brought in by fishermen right after being caught.

Are you wondering what some authentic dishes of the area are?  Stinkheads, which is a recipe coming from a native tribe of Alaska, is a dish made from fermented fish head or guts. The ingredients mixed together well and placed in a small barrel or bucket, and buried in the ground for about a week. It is consumed as it is, being considered one of the most awkward delicacies. Not many people that come from outside the tribe have what it takes to eat something like this. So, now we know that fish is plentiful, but so is game meat. Elk and deer are abundant in the Pacific Northwest and are served in various dishes. From a health standpoint, wild game is preferred over farm raised animals. 

If your looking to find some familiar dishes to enjoy in the region, then you will have a variety of choices.  In Portland Oregon, you will find numerous restaurants, each serving its own cuisine. For instance, if you like Thai food, you need to visit a Thai restaurant in Portland and Beaverton called Thai Bloom that serves authentic Thai dishes. At this restaurant, you will be able to eat khao m050316tb-009an gai, which is boiled chicken with rice and a spicy sauce. If you like eating healthy, preferring organic produces, then Urban Farmer is the place for you. Everything here is pure and delicious. The restaurant’s owners even have their own brand of distilled whiskey, also made locally. You will definitely enjoy the modern steakhouse atmosphere and the fine bites on your plate. Would you like some French dishes? Then just visit Le Pigeon, a chic bistro where you can enjoy beef-cheek bourguignon and foie gras caramel profiteroles. The eatery has an intimate space that makes you feel like home, as well as a quiet and welcoming space where you can eat in peace. You can also find them on their website www.thaibloom.com.

The Northwest is famous for great restaurants and food carts.  The region has everything from authentic local recipes, to Thai food, French food, Chinese food, and even Italian food. Portland has plenty of restaurants and street food carts to choose from, so you will definitely find something delicious to eat. The food scene in the Pacific Northwest can be surprising, being a place where ordinary American food is served, together with dishes made using fresh locally grown produces. The idea is to know where to find each, in case you want to find one or avoid the other. If you live in a large city, you may find it very convenient to get fresh food from the local market, which is not imported but farmed traditionally in the area. For city dwellers, there are many grocery stores and  large chain of supermarkets where you can purchase food from all over the world. 

The Pacific Northwest region will not only offer beautiful cities and great landscapes, but also surprisingly fresh dishes and recipes from cultures around the world.  Many of these people have traveled and settled here driven by the desire to find a better life. The best part is that you will find all of them in one single place, being able to change the location of your dinner according to your moods and preferences.  At the end of the day, experience the amazing cultural diversity of the region while still enjoying the local favorites, wild game, dungeness Crab, and Salmon. 

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