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Howard Johnson style fried clams?

SASSYMI2 May 16, 2007 08:31 PM

My favorite food as a child was Howard Johnson's fried clams. Since over the years 99.9% of them have closed, I am hoping that I might be able to find a good imitation on our trip to Boston and Maine next month. Am I dreaming? Any recommendations?

  1. t
    tamerlanenj May 16, 2007 09:17 PM

    Woodman's in Essex has the fried strips with no belles

    5 Replies
    1. re: tamerlanenj
      SASSYMI2 May 16, 2007 09:39 PM

      I'm from Michigan. What do you mean by "no belles"?

      1. re: SASSYMI2
        Prav May 16, 2007 10:45 PM

        I think Tamerlanenj meant "no bellies"... the fried clams you get here contain the clam "belly" as well, not just a fried strip of rubber. (I'm from Michigan as well).

        1. re: Prav
          greenstate May 17, 2007 03:27 AM

          Howard Johnson served the fried clam strips, a hard, chewy fried item that is nothing like the fried clams that you would get in New England. The whole clams have bellies, which are soft, sweet and pulpy - delicious. You can order just the strips in some places. Ask first, but beware of looks of disbelief. Most of us up here are purists when it comes to our fried clams!

          1. re: greenstate
            Joanie May 17, 2007 04:28 AM

            I loved the Howard Johnson clams growing up and also the real clams we went out for (clams and lobster were the only fish I'd eat for years). I've actually had some strips that seem like real clams next to those Hojo's ones. I think it was at Farnham's where a friend ordered the strips and I have to say, I enjoyed them.

        2. re: SASSYMI2
          tamerlanenj May 17, 2007 08:24 AM

          yes, I meant no bellies

      2. h
        hargau May 17, 2007 04:20 AM

        What you want are called "Clam strips" not "fried clams"
        Plenty of places offer them here.
        Actually a clam strip is not just a fried clam with no belly. Its usually a very large quahaug that has been sliced up into thin strips.

        1. seefood May 17, 2007 06:04 AM

          According to Jacques Pépin, Howard Johnson's fried clams were actually "made from the tongues of enormous sea clams whose bodies were used as the base for the restaurants' famous clam chowder." This from a story by him in the NY Times (Apr. 28, 2005) recounting his sojourn in the HJ commissary in Queens around 1960, shortly after his arrival in the US. Pierre Franey worked with him there. Unlikely as it may sound, he regarded the experience as an invaluable part of his training. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/28/opi...

          6 Replies
          1. re: tamerlanenj
            Rubee May 17, 2007 09:18 AM

            I had always heard it referred to as the "foot" of the surf or sea clam, and just assumed it was like geoduck, which is delicious when cut up and fried, like they do at Peach Farm Seafood.

            1. re: Rubee
              tamerlanenj May 17, 2007 03:07 PM

              Holy cow, I just looked up geoduck on wikipedia. That thing is freaky. Is Pepin talking about a Giant Clam?

              1. re: tamerlanenj
                Rubee May 17, 2007 03:09 PM

                Somewhere 9Lives has pics posted on the end result - both sashimi and fried from Peach Farm. That monster was 4 1/2 pounds.

              2. re: Rubee
                gryphonskeeper May 18, 2007 07:15 AM

                omg have you ever had geoduck sushi? It is awesome, I only had it once and was so shocked at how delicate it was.. but I cannot find it locally.

                1. re: gryphonskeeper
                  9lives May 18, 2007 07:25 AM

                  Peach Farm in Chinatown has it. Usually East Ocean City too..probably any of the Cantonese live tank seafood places.. you need to buy the whole clam.

                  I've seen it in many sushi bars around town.by the piece.

                  Here's a pic from a recent dinner...


                  1. re: gryphonskeeper
                    ScubaSteve Jun 21, 2008 05:15 PM

                    Fugakyu can get it for you. i did an omakase there that featured several parts of the giant clam and it was awesome.

              3. eLizard May 17, 2007 09:22 AM

                most places have strips or whole clams fried. Royal Roast Beef and Seafood in Eastie which serves up a very hot fresh and tasty fried clam has the choice. I'm a belly-girl myself, so I cannot vouch for the strips. Doesn't Friendly's also serve the strips?

                6 Replies
                1. re: eLizard
                  MeffaBabe May 18, 2007 06:48 AM

                  Has anyone but me ever wondered where the bellies from all the clam strips go??? I am surprised no one has ever come up with a "bellies Only" fried clam plate,,,,,,yummy!

                  1. re: MeffaBabe
                    CocoDan May 18, 2007 07:01 AM

                    If you read above, you will see that clam strips are not whole clams without the bellies. They are in fact sliced quahog, or sea clams as HoJo's used to call them.
                    I hope you find your bellies only fried clams. Sounds good to me.

                    1. re: CocoDan
                      BobB May 18, 2007 09:30 AM

                      I suspect that once you cut the non-belly part of the clam off you'd risk the contents of the belly oozing out. Besides, I like the contrast of the chewy strip part with the more flavorful, tender belly.

                      1. re: BobB
                        9lives May 18, 2007 01:50 PM

                        The clam strips are completely different from the whole belly clams.as noted above, the strips are cut up larger sea clams....not by removing bellies from "whole clams."

                        Fried, whole belly clams are made by using "soft shelled" clams..or the same clams that you get if you order "steamers."

                        1. re: 9lives
                          Harp00n May 20, 2007 02:33 AM

                          As has been stated here by a couple of Hounds,clam strips are produced from a very large east-coast native; the Atlantic Surf Clam (Spisula solidissima).They're also commercially processed into chowders, bisques & clam sauces. Often, after on-shore blowing storms you can find them tossed-up onto beaches thru out New England,especially in R.I.

                          BTW, make mine soft shelled bellied clams :-)

                    2. re: MeffaBabe
                      ScubaSteve Jun 21, 2008 05:17 PM

                      i think the bellies are processed into 'Clam Base."

                  2. Science Chick May 18, 2007 11:41 AM

                    If you want the real thing, there appear to be 3 HOJO locations left . Bangor, ME, Lake George and Lake Placid.....

                    Even though I am a whole belly gal, I still have fond memories of those Hojo's clams. We used to go on Wed or Fri nights for the "all you can eat Fish Fry". My god we'd put away alot of those clams!!!!

                    1. b
                      Bostonbob3 May 18, 2007 12:03 PM

                      I have a saying:

                      No belly, no Bobby.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Bostonbob3
                        mangotango May 18, 2007 01:16 PM

                        Kelly's has great fried clams too. There is a new location in Everett (on your way to Target).

                        1. re: mangotango
                          Bostonbob3 May 18, 2007 01:20 PM

                          Yeah, I like Kelly's fried clams a fair amount. I've only had them at the Revere location though, and it's a bit of an adventure, what with gulls trying to get to the clams in your hand as you sit on a bench by the beach.

                          Mmmmm, gull...

                          1. re: mangotango
                            MeffaBabe May 19, 2007 06:05 PM

                            New location is in Medford at the former Krispy Kremes building at Wellington Circle

                        2. j
                          jsilverman01 Jun 21, 2008 03:35 PM

                          If you log on to HoHoLand.com you will find that there are three remaining Howard Johnson Restaurants in the U.S., One in Lake George, N.Y., one in Lake Placid, N.Y.and one in Bangor, ME. If you are anywhere near Bangor on your Maine trip, you could get the real McCoy rather than a good imitation, if there ireally s such a thing.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jsilverman01
                            Prav Jun 21, 2008 05:45 PM

                            Hojoland.com --- hoholand might not be work safe. :)

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