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Russia (And Its Reindeer) Are Surprisingly Close To Alaska

Reindeer Hot Dogs Are Popular Treats On Anchorage, Alaska Streets In The Summertime.

Try a reindeer hot dog while you're visiting Anchorage.
Try a reindeer hotdog when you're visiting Anchorage.

The "street food" of Anchorage Alaska is the reindeer sausage. It's pretty much a large hot dog, accompanied with the usual condiments: yellow mustard, chopped onions, catsup and relish. Reindeer are actually not a completely "Alaskan" animal. They're very close relatives of the Alaskan caribou, but the reindeer that now live in Alaska are mostly from herds brought over (with Siberian herders) from nearby Siberia, across the Bering Strait in Russia, back in the late 1880's.

The U.S. government imported the reindeer because during the mid 1800's the marine mammals along the Alaska coast had been killed off during the Russian fur trade, and Native people needed food.

Reindeer are a domesticated form of caribou. There are caribou in much of mainland Alaska. And Alaskans hunt and eat caribou. But you can't sell wild meat in Alaska -- and although Alaskans make hot dogs of their wild game for personal consumption -- you certainly wouldn't buy caribou hot dogs on the street.

 But reindeer hot dogs have become a popular form of food in Alaska, especially in downtown Anchorage, where street vendors set up shop in the summer, and at major winter outdoor events, such as Fur Rendezvous and the start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.  If you have't tried reindeer sausage, it tastes like any other hot dog.
Reindeer hotdogs in Anchorage, Alaska.

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