Smooth or chunky, from Boston to Manhattan, creamy or light, we put these clam chowders to the test.
Campbell’s New England Clam Chowder: 2/5
Packaged in the all-familiar red and white Campbell’s label, which is their entry-level range, the soup was more on the salty side. Even with equal parts milk added into the mix, there was a noticeable shy aftertaste, with little clam taste. The soup had a smooth appearance with huge chunks of potatoes and small diced clams.
Verdict: Good if you’re feeling nostalgic. $2.40 (298g), Fairprice Finest.
Bumblebee New England Clam Chowder: 2.5/5
The soup was smooth, with chunks of potatoes and tiny chopped up bits of clams. Taste-wise, it reminded us of normal cream soup, with very little clam flavour. Even with the addition of equal parts milk to soup, it remained well seasoned.
Verdict: Great if you just want a hint of clam. $3.25 (425g), Fairprice Finest.
Campbell’s Homestyle: New England Clam Chowder: 3/5
At first glance, the folk-themed ‘no preservatives’ label of this soup caught our eye. The soup was savoury and chunky, with lots of potatoes and a generous amount of clams. It had less of a fishy taste than its red-and-white cousin exhibited. Overall, the clams had a pretty good texture and were not chewy.
Verdict: The best bet for a canned option. $3.65 (533g), Redmart.
Progresso Manhattan Clam Chowder: 2.5/5
This is the only Manhattan style clam chowder we found—it’s also referred to as a red clam chowder, attributed to Portuguese influence in Rhode Island. It reminded us of minestrone soup, with its bright red tomato base and crunchy celery. We almost couldn’t find any trace of clams in this soup, and only could deduce that the little brown flecks floating in the soup were shredded clams.
Verdict: Might as well call this tomato soup. $4.50 (538g), Cold Storage
Fassler Clam Chowder: 4/5
The retro packaging of Fassler’s clam chowder really attracted us and it did not disappoint in taste as well. Surprisingly fresh for frozen food, it reminded us of comforting creamy chicken soup, with chunks of potatoes and carrots. The clams were fresh, albeit a little gritty.
Verdict: A gourmet option that you can stock in the freezer. $4.90 (500g), The Foodie Marketplace (Tiong Bahru)
Mmmm! Clam Chowder: 4/5
Mmmm’s frozen clam chowder had a delicious buttery note. The soup contains a variety of veggies including celery and carrot. Large, whole clams complemented the sweet, milky flavour as well. The texture was light and not starchy. A tad more seasoning would have made this even better.
Verdict: Another gourmet pick. $5 (500g), Redmart.
Pies and Coffee Clam Chowder: 3/5
This frozen soup arrived in a conventional takeout box (which was damaged) and had the most deviant texture. It was not creamy, and had the appearance of regular vegetable soup. What surprised us though, was that there were whole clam shells in the soup—but the clam flavour was very mild.
Verdict: You’ll either love or hate the spongy, onion- rich broth. $7.40 (360g), Redmart
Soup Spoon Boston Clam Chowder: 4/5
As the only freshly packaged (non frozen and non canned) option, The Soup Spoon’s version naturally was the freshest of the lot. The broth was creamy and has a good assortment of chunky vegetables and clams. There were also ecks of bacon in the soup, as well as a bay leaf or two, that added to the overall smoky and sweet flavour.
Verdict: You get the quality that you pay for. $9.90 (600g), marketplace@cityhall