The two most popular types of chowders, Manhattan clam chowder and New England clam chowder, are visually different and have historic beef between them. Here’s how to tell the difference

By Ananda Eidelstein
February 25, 2018

There are a handful of varieties when it comes clam chowder. It's is a classic bowl of comfort that harbors and many opinions about which is best. The two front-runners are the New England Clam Chowder and the Manhattan Clam Chowder, and each seafood chowder recipe couldn’t be more different. In fact, historically, the two types of clam chowder have caused a ruckus.

New England clam chowder (also known as Boston Clam Chowder) is creamy thanks to milk or cream, which gives it that recognizable white color. It’s thick and made with clams, potatoes, onions, and at times includes salt pork. This very popular soup in the North East is often served with or thickened with oyster crackers.

The Manhattan clam chowder, on the other hand is strikingly different from the get-go, due to its red color. The broth is thinner and made with tomato and tomato paste instead of cream or milk and an array of vegetables such as carrots, onion, celery, and potatoes. There might be garlic added for a boost of flavor as well. Interestingly enough, Manhattan Clam Chowder has nothing to do with New York City itself.

No matter if you have a preference for one or the other (or simply enjoy both), the best clam chowder war is real and started long ago. In the late 1930's a representative in Maine tried to introduce a bill to not only make clam chowder containing tomatoes illegal, but also a culinary offense.

Now that you know the difference, be ready to defend your post come this National Clam Chowder Day (February 25).

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