Yukon Food Guide

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With clean soil, clear water and natural forests, Canada’s smallest territory is one of the most pristine places in the world. The Yukon, which borders British Columbia, Alaska, the Northwest Territories and the Arctic Ocean, is also rich in history and traditions. Food in the Yukon has its roots in hunting and gathering wild food, fishing, foraging and preserving. The traditions of the First Nations people, explorers, settlers and migrants are the foundation of an emerging Yukon food culture.

There’s plenty of delicious food to eat in the Yukon, from wild salmon drizzled with Yukon birch syrup to elk sausage rolls and wild Yukon raspberries. Multicultural influences have crept into the kitchens of passionate local cooks, who are incorporating international flavours in their recipes, and there is a growing interest in wild herbs that grow in the territory. All this forms the foundation of a Yukon fusion cuisine in the making.

Yukon Food Guide

Wild Fusion Cuisine

food yukon borealgourmet
Labrador Tea Custard. Photo: Archbould Photography.

Michele Genest from Boreal Gourmet is a Yukon cook who is passionate about finding creative ways to prepare food with the Yukon’s wild ingredients.

By collaborating on projects with indigenous people whose ancestors have lived in the Boreal Forest for thousands of years, Michele has learned how to combine traditional wild forest food with cooking techniques from around the world.

The Boreal Gourmet’s desserts have a strong Yukon flavour using wild food such as berries and her recipes are a mouthwatering twist on early-settler sweets, for example, Birch Syrup Shortbread and Labrador Tea Gelato ice cream sandwiches.

She was also involved in a collaboration between cooks from the Vuntut Gwich’in community of Old Crow and contemporary cooks sharing knowledge and recipes to create a new northern cuisine.

The result of the collaboration was a book called ‘Vadzaih – Cooking caribou from antler to hoof’, which explores traditional ways of preparing and cooking caribou and also has delicious contemporary recipes, such as Caribou wonton soup.

The caribou have been central to the Gwich’in way of life for thousands of years and the Porcupine Caribou herd is one of the largest in North America and the annual migration is one of the largest land migrations in the world.

Eat:

Dog Mushers Camp Food

Bannock

Bannock Recipe

Bannock is a traditional fried bread that originated in Scotland but was adopted by the First Nations people of Canada.

This simple and tasty bread was also a staple food for hunters, trappers, dog mushers and other early settlers.

The mushers at Sky High Wilderness Ranch in the Yukon in Canada are used to eating bannock while on the trail.

The reason why it's so popular is it's tasty, provides energy when out in the wilderness, it's easy to pack and make and does not go off.

Hunters use animal fat from their hunt to fry it in.

This crisp, tender fried bread is even more delicious when consumed outdoors by a campfire.

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water or milk
  • Lard or vegetable shortening for frying
  • Cinnamon and cranberries/apple chunks for a sweeter bannock - 1/4 cup
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder or any other spices for savoury bannock
  • Bacon bits 1/4 cup
  • Shredded cheese 1/4 cup

Instructions

    1. Heat oil/fat/shortening in a frying pan on medium heat.
    2. Mix all the dry ingredients and add any optional ingredients and mix, then add liquid until the batter is quite soft and bubbly.
    3. Stir the mixture just enough to moisten all the ingredients but do not over stir.
    4. Drop the mixture by the spoonful into the hot fat (it should sizzle when dropped in).
    5. Let it cook until brown and then flip over and brown the other side.
    6. Drain on paper towel.

Notes

Eat it hot and fresh!

The Klondike Gold Rush attracted prospectors who flocked to the Yukon and dog sleds became the standard mode of transportation.

Sled dogs pulled heavy loads over vast distances each day and gobbled up soupy gruels filled with meat or fish, dry kibble and treats of frozen fish and meat.

The mushers also ate food to give them fuel and keep them warm, such as bannock, which is historically a hunter’s camp food.

The dog mushers at Sky High Wilderness Ranch each have their favourite food and some mushers enjoy making snow ice cream as a treat for guests while on the trail to their backcountry camp.

All that’s needed is a clean bank of fresh snow, a bowl of whipping cream, vanilla and sugar.

How To Make Snow Ice Cream

snow icecream
Eating snow ice cream at Sky High Wilderness Ranch.

This Snow Ice Cream recipe was designed for snow, but you can use freshly shaved ice if you prefer (freshly fallen snow is generally safe to consume, as long as it’s clean!).

There are no actual ingredient measurements, and most of the ingredients are added to suite your palette and the quantity you want to make.

As you whip it, you will notice it gets thicker and as you add the snow, it starts to look like ice cream.

Ingredients:

  • Cream or milk, whatever you have on hand.
  • Vanilla adds excellent flavour, but you can add any flavour you like
  • Granulated sugar sweetens up this simple treat
  • Snow, of course! You’ll need several cups of snow, especially if it melts quickly so bring in more than you need and freeze until you are ready to mix it up.

Whip the ingredients with a hand mixer until it is thick and has the consistency of ice cream. Then add sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, chocolate or caramel topping as an option.

Grandma Treesaw’s Yukon Bannock

yukon bannock teresa
Grandma Treesaw’s bannock.

Like most First Nations people, Teresa Ward grew up eating and cooking bannock.

Bannock is a traditional First Nations food and a staple that can be enjoyed in different ways, in the form of Bannock burgers, eggs benedict on bannock, with peanut butter and jam, chocolate-covered bannock, blueberry or elk-stuffed bannock.

Later, as a mum trying to make ends meet, she started selling bannock out of the tailgate of her truck and quickly attracted customers with the aroma of freshly cooked bannock frying over a propane stove.

The word spread about her bannock, which is soft and yummy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and she started getting invited to make bannock for events.

As a result of being chosen to participate in a pilot program run by the Trade Commissioner’s offices of British Columbia, Yukon and Seattle, Grandma Treesaw’s Yukon Bannock mix hit the shelves in retail shops throughout the Yukon and beyond.

There are different methods of cooking bannock around the world, and in the Yukon, where there are 14 First Nations, there are also different styles of bannock.

Teresa Ward’s is a Teslin Tlingit-style crispy bannock, which is deep-fried or baked and is an easy-to-use mix for anyone wanting to make bannock.

For more exciting attractions in Yukon read:

Cafes and Restaurants in Whitehorse

Whitehorse is a hub of cafes, restaurants, breweries, food stores and eateries so if you’re looking for something tasty to eat or drink, tick these places off your list.

The Claim

yukon Claim cafe

The Chocolate Claim was a home-based chocolate manufacturing business that grew into a cool spot for locals to pop in for great coffee and something tasty from the bakery.

Besides handmade chocolates, on the menu are soups, sandwiches, and organic, fair-trade coffee roasted by Bean North Coffee Roasters.

Eat:

  • Chipotle chicken, Shanghai pork and cabbage slaw with falafel or roasted vegetable and pesto $10.95.
  • Chicken Marbella thighs marinated in capers, olives, herbs and white wine served with salad, rice pilaf and fresh bread $30.

Drink:

  • Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters’ Martha Black Roast (carafe of 10 cups) $25.00.

The Claim Café & Food Co is at 305 Strickland Street, Whitehorse.

The Kind Café

True to its name, Kind Café’s philosophy is to contribute to making the world a kinder place through its plant-based, gluten-free food prepared with organic local ingredients.

This holistic approach to food is based on a menu that is close to the earth and caring about the health of others.

Eat:

  • Tumeric cauliflower bowl with brown rice, marinated tofu, chickpeas, pickled red onion, miso cashew dressing, hummus and spinach $14.50.
  • Carrot lox toast made with tofu cream cheese, carrot lox, capers, red onion, dill on sourdough $8.50.

Drink:

  • Vanilla Maca Smoothie (a blend of vanilla, banana, cauliflower, cashews, dates, hemp hearts, maca roots, sea salt and coconut milk) $11.

The Kind Café is at 305 Hawkins Street, Whitehorse.

Woodcutter’s Blanket

Woodcutter’s Blanket is in a 1930s cabin built by a prospector and listed on the Whitehorse Heritage Buildings Register.

Serving cocktails, home-brewed beer and comfort food, this popular spot is a favourite with the locals.

Eat:

  • Ybar beef jerky made from local beef $13.
  • Woodcutter’s Burger of smoked housemade YBAR pork and beef patty topped with tomatoes, aioli, lettuce, cheddar, bacon and homemade pickles. $19.50.

Drink:

  • Royal Aviation Cocktail (gin, lemon, creme de violette, maraschino and brut) $17.
  • Home-brewed beer.

Woodcutter’s Blanket is at 112 Strickland, Whitehorse.

Baked Café

Baked Café is a contemporary café and a hub for events such as trivia nights, music performances, comedy and book readings.

For delicious sausages made from local meat, head here for breakfast.

Baked Café is at 100 Main Street, Whitehorse.

Burnt Toast Café

Irish coffee at Burtn Toast Cafe
A winter warmer at Burnt Toast.

Burnt Toast Café is a cosy restaurant located in Whitehorse’s oldest building, with a great atmosphere, a creative menu, wine, local beer and a resident ghost (the building used to house a coffin making business).

It’s an excellent spot for breakfast, lunch or brunch on the weekends and great coffee. Try the Beans North Coffee Roasters ‘Burnt Toast’ blend.

Dishes are prepared with ingredients from local suppliers, such as chorizo and pork from Tum Tums Black Gilt Meats, which is a local producer of Yukon-raised meat.

On the menu are salads made with fresh greens, grated carrots and beets, black beans and roasted seeds and topped with our maple balsamic vinaigrette.

Locals love their croissant French toast with fresh berries or the variety of eggs benny.

Eat:

  • Smoked salmon salad with salmon from Alaska with fresh berries, fried capers and feta cheese $18.
  • Halibut burger made with beer-battered halibut on a pretzel bun for $17.

Drink:

  • Mimosas with a variety of juices for $10.
  • Yukon Brewing beer on tap and Winterlong Beer.

Burnt Toast Café is at 2112 2nd Avenue, Whitehorse.

Wayfarer Oyster House

Air Canada’s En Route Magazine listed Wayfarer Oyster House as one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants.

This is the place to go for northern coastal-style dining and seafood from Yukon, Alaska and British Columbia.

Eat:

  • Charlotte’s Chowder cooked with fish, clams, bacon, potato and fennel $19.
  • Roasted Sablefish Collars with maple-miso, furikake and lime $20.

Drink:

  • Wayfarer Caesar with rye, fresh herbs and an oyster $12.50.
  • Summit Kombucha with local kombucha, bitters and citrus $10.

Wayfarer Oyster House is at 6098 6th Ave (Just off Main), Whitehorse.

Wood Street Ramen

woodstreet ramen yukon

Wood Street Ramen is an Asian-inspired ramen bar that blends the flavours of locally sourced fresh Yukon ingredients with Asian cooking techniques.

This Yukon-Asian fusion eatery has a farm-to-table cooking philosophy dedicated to supporting locals.

On the menu is an array of mouth-watering dishes like tonkatsu ramen (ramen in pork bone broth), crispy pork noodles, Bangkok bowl as well as sandwiches and wraps.

  • Crispy pork noodles with cooked pork belly, puffed tofu sautéed with fresh vegetables in garlic sauce on a bed of fresh noodles $16.
  • Tonkotsu – freshly made thin wheat noodles, rich bone broth using fox ridge farms bones, thrice-cooked pork belly, soy and chilli marinated soft boiled egg, leafy greens, sweet corn kernels, scallions, nori, sesame seeds $16.

Wood Street Ramen is at 302 Wood St, Whitehorse.

Sanchez Cantina

Sanchez Cantina is an authentic Mexican restaurant with a colourful dining room, sunny terrace, delicious food and the best margaritas in town.

This family-run restaurant dishes out the tastes of Southern Mexico with lovingly home-cooked food. 

Eat:

  • Enchiladas two wrapped corn tortillas with your choice of filling, topped with onions and cheese served with guacamole, beans, rice or salad $26.

Drink:

  • Mexican hot chocolate $6.50.
  • Six Mexican beers (Corona, Dos Equis Lager, Sol, Pacifico, Negra Modelo) $22.50.

Sanchez Cantina is at 211 Hanson St, Whitehorse.

Coffee, Cheese and Bagels

Bullet Hole Bagels

If you have a desire for bagels, Bullet Hole Bagels makes Montreal-style bagels that are hand-rolled and baked on the premises.

Love bagels? Buy six bagels for $7 to take home or munch along the way while you explore Whitehorse.

Eat:

  • Smoked Salmon: Smoked salmon, herb and garlic cream cheese, dill, capers, red onion $10.
  • ABC (house-made smashed avocado, bacon, cumin, Gouda and tomato $10.

Bullet Hole Bagels is at 121- 1116 Front St, Whitehorse.

Cultured Fine Cheeses

yukon cultured fine cheese
Enjoy cheese from around the world.

Cultured Fine Cheeses has an impressive selection of cheese from the best cheese-making regions in the world.

Shelves are stocked with cheeses from Canada, USA, Netherlands, France and Switzerland.

Eat:

  • Dutchman, Yukon Jack.
  • Herb & Garlic Monterey Jack from Dawson city made from unpasteurised cow milk.

Cultured Fine Cheeses is at 106A 100 Main Street, Whitehorse.

Bean North Coffee Roasting

Bean North Coffee Roasting runs Cooperative Coffees, which is a green, fair-trade coffee cooperative that buys coffee from small-scale coffee farmers.

By developing long-term relationships with coffee producers and their families, Cooperative Coffees aim is to encourage certified organic coffee-growing as a sustainable and beneficial enterprise for small farmers.

Most of their coffee is a light-medium roast, which brings out its unique flavours.

Besides flavoursome fair-trade coffee, Bean North also has home-made soups, paninis and sweet treats on the menu.

Bean North is at Takhini Hot Springs Rd, Whitehorse.

Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters

yukon coffee midnight sun

This small coffee roastery shares space with Icycle sports and bicycle shop.

A 15-year history of micro-roasting premium coffee makes this place a drawcard for coffee lovers who are rewarded by consistent quality.

They roast coffee in small batches daily, ensuring that the coffee is always fresh.

On the coffee menu is drip coffee, espresso, Americana, breves, cappuccino and mochas.

Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters is at 21 Waterfront Place, Whitehorse.

Craft Beer

Whitehorse’s craft beer scene is thriving, and if you are a beer lover, you won’t be disappointed with the Yukon’s beer offerings.

Polarity Brewing

yukon polarity brewing

Polarity Brewing is a brewery and taproom that serves good beer and food prepared with ingredients sourced from local farms.

The changing menu reflects the produce available each season, and their philosophy is to source from farmers who are committed to sustainable and ethical farming.

Eat:

  • Eggplant burger made with vegan eggplant patty, tomato, lettuce, chipotle or habanero adobo on a baked bun. 
  • Double Decker Smash Burger of locally raised beef, in-house smoked cheddar, caramelised onions and lettuce on a freshly baked bun.

Polarity Brewing is at 2237 2nd Ave #170, Whitehorse.

Winterlong Brewing

winterlong brewery whitehorse

Another small craft brewery in Whitehorse, Winterlong Brewing Co. creates beers with bold flavours that are unfiltered.

Taste beer in the Tasting Room or relax in the beer garden or swing by and buy a growler of beer to take away.

Drink beer on tap:

  • Pingo Pale Ale (American 5% ABV 27 IBU) is an everyday West Coast-style pale ale with aromas of freshly peeled orange, and a flavour like biting into a juicy tangerine.
  • Mountain Hero Farmhouse Ale (Saison 6% ABV 21 IBU) has a spicy French-Belgian yeast character mingled that creates a refreshing, dry, drinkable Saison when mixed with citrus hops.

Eat:

  • Scotch Egg – A local soft-boiled egg, wrapped in ground Yukon pork, breaded and fried served with Sinister Rouge Mayo-Mustard $10.50.
  • Smoked Salmon and Crackers – Taku wild smoked salmon (choice of Jalapeno, Alder, Maple or Pepper smoked) with rye crackers $12.

Winterlong Brewing is at 83 Mount Sima Road, Whitehorse.

Deep Dark Wood Brewing

The inspiration for brewing beer at Deep Dark Wood Brewing has its roots in European farmhouse brewing traditions.

Most beers brewed here start and finish in oak barrels that previously held wine or spirits adding to the flavour of the beer.

Drink:

  • Pixie Mosaic Barrel-aged dry-hopped golden sour.
  • Saison Galaxy Barrel-aged mixed fermentation Saison.

Deep Dark Wood Brewing is at 2A Collins Lane, Whitehorse.

Yukon Brewing and Two Brewers

yukon brewing

Yukon’s oldest microbrewery produces beer on tap, in bottles and cans.

Go on a brewery tour to discover the secrets of brewing, fermentation, barrelling and packaging beer before sampling.

The business expanded to make a gin and award-winning single malt whisky under the Two Brewers brand.

Drink:

  • Two Brewers Single Malt (Release No 16), which won gold at the Canadian Whiskey Awards in 2020.
  • Birch Sap Ale Golden brewed with Klondike birch sap bringing sweetness and complexity to this German lager.

Yukon Brewing is at 102 Copper Road, Whitehorse.

Cafes and Restaurants in Dawson City

Bonton and Company

Bonton and Company is a cafe and provision store that sells locally sourced food, such as jars of smoked sockeye, local meats and cheese.

Dinner is served from Thursday to Saturday nights, and the changing menu showcases dishes prepared with fresh produce each week.

Bonton Charcuterie Board of house-made salami, Klondike Valley Creamery Cheese.

Bonton and Company is at 878 3rd Ave. Dawson City, Yukon.

Red Mammoth Bistro

Red Mammoth Bistro is a great spot to drink coffee and munch on a panini or pastry in Dawson City.

Red Mammoth Bistro is at 2nd Avenue, Dawson City.

Sourdough Joe’s

Eat fresh halibut, sockeye salmon, cod burger or home-made chowder on the patio at Sourdough Joe’s and do try the Klondike poutine with optional double bacon, cheddar and gravy.

Sourdough Joe’s was named after Joe Ladue, who was a founder of Dawson City.

Sourdough Joe’s is at 902 Front St, Dawson City.

Yukon food guide
Yukon food guide
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I'm a writer, photographer and video blogger based in Queensland, Australia, when I'm not on the road. I've lived in three continents and my career as a travel journalist has taken me to all seven continents. Since 2003, I have contributed travel stories to mainstream media in Australia and around the world such as the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN Traveller, The Australian and the South China Morning Post. I have won many travel writing awards and I'm a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.

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