The Chowder Tradition – Manhattan vs. New England

Manhattan or New England? Don’t ask that question if you live in Boston or New York, of course, when it comes to chowder. You might get a pretty angry response.

Fact is, clam chowder stands as one of the most popular soups, but the debate over which version is “the best” can be a fairly polarizing topic, as both have their own staunch supporters.

What is New England Clam Chowder?

You may know this variant as Boston Clam Chowder, and it is identified by its thick, creamy base. It is often made with clams, potatoes, and onions, although there some versions of the recipe that will call for salted pork. As a bonus, you will often find it served with thin oyster crackers in certain parts of New England.

Manhattan – A Chowder of a Different Breed

The difference between the two chowders is night and day, really. You will first notice that instead of a creamy white, Manhattan chowder is a dull red, and the broth is not as thick. Also, instead of cream or milk, this kind of chowder’s broth is comprised of tomato paste and is mixed with various vegetables, including carrots, celery, potatoes, and onion. For flavor, the soup sometimes has a bit of garlic included.

As you can see, if you were used to the Boston clam chowder that you find in Quincy Market or even on the shelf of your local supermarket, the composition of the Manhattan clam chowder would come as a rather harsh wakeup call. Still, there is food for every taste palette, and you might find your preference in one of these fine soups.

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