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The Great Clam Chowder Debate

New Englanders take serious pride in their New England clam chowder, which you can easily find being slurped up at lobster shacks and roadside diners as well as top-rated restaurants. The famed cream-based soup has been around for a long time, being served in Boston in the early 1800s at the Union Oyster House (one of our country’s oldest continuously operating restaurants).

But the rivalry started when a Manhattan version was created in the 1930s that was tomato based. It caused such an uproar that in 1939, a bill was introduced in Maine to ban the use of tomatoes in clam chowder. It did not pass and has been an ongoing debate ever since.

clam chowder

The difference is visible—there’s no mistaking the two. Both are delicious and have the briny, sweet flavor of clams. The New England version tends to be richer and thicker whereas the Manhattan chowder is more vegetal with a lighter, more brothy base. I love that both styles can support my habit of using plenty of hot sauce and oyster crackers!

This month, our Seafood department will be making both New England and Manhattan Chowders (available in the hot soup well located by the Seafood department and in the soup grab ‘n go area). Come in and try our take on both styles of clam chowder. Then, we want to hear what you think! Take our Great Chowda Debate poll on our Facebook page.

1 comment on “The Great Clam Chowder Debate

  • You forgot Rhode Island Chowder (Chowdah). It is neither creamy or tomato-based. it has a clear broth. You need to include that in your article too for authentic New England-ness.

    I grew up in Massachusetts so I “know” these things. The best is the dairy-based style.

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