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Deep Fried Oysters & Steamed Clams - do they exist in Atlantic Canada?

Hey everyone,

I'm a Nova Scotian living in Calgary and a new Maritime pub opened up purportedly serving East Coast food. It's impressive; they have deep fried pepperoni, garlic fingers, fried baloney, and a really good donair. And of course they serve fish 'n' chips, but who doesn't?

Something is puzzling me, though. There are steamed clams on the menu, but not steamed mussels. Based on my experience, there ought to be deep fried clams and steamed mussels. I never encountered steamed clams until I visited Maine. There is also deep fried oysters, but I don't think I've EVER seen these anywhere in the East Coast. I thought it was a Louisiana thing.

Then again, I am not an expert at what is offered in NB, PEI and NFLD. Does anyone have any input on this?

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  1. great steamed clams here in Digby, but don't think your oysters are on local menus. pity

    1. Years ago there was a drive-in close to the present site of the Charlottetown Mall on University Avenue in PEI. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the place - don't think it was it Barry's. They had the best deep-fried oysters on the planet. These oysters were not hard to find in PEI in those days.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chilibeanpaste

        The Peter Pan? (If it was- it's still there...)

      2. Someone in our group ordered steamed clams at Patterson's in Sackville, NB, not sure if they still sell them. I'm pretty sure you can get them in Shediac at lots of places too, not to mention down in Five Island area. I've had oysters at Little Louis' in Moncton and in Charlottetown, but not deep fried.

        That pub must have Maritime music and the atmosphere etc must mostly make it a maritime thing, because I don't think deep fried pepperoni and garlic fingers speak maritimes to me. Of course there's the whole donair / Halifax thing but still. And baloney is something that makes me think of Nfld (although I don't know how much its served elsewhere, I know I grew up eating it), but Nfld is not part of the Maritimes anyway.

        The restaurant does sound a little confused but it could be down to availability of the ingredients.

        4 Replies
        1. re: im_nomad

          Wow... I would never have imagined Patterson's serves steamed clams! Doesn't seem like a fresh seafood place.

          In my original post I said it was a Maritime pub, but really it's an East Coast pub, so NFLD is represented.

          Every East Coaster I know is desperate to get a hold of garlic fingers in Calgary. They don't exist. Garlic fingers are totally an east coast thing. I heard a rumour they were invented by Pizza Delight... but I guess that's a whole different topic.

          If you look at any pub menu or pizza menu in Halifax you will most likely see deep fried pepperoni. And this reaches beyond Halifax. But I don't know if it reaches beyond NS. This pub I'm talking about actually brags that they import their pepperoni from Nova Scotia.

          1. re: im_nomad

            I think the menu looks like a pretty good representation of the greasy pub food I ate in my university days in Halifax. I never understood the appeal of deep-fried pepperoni (it loses all the heat) but lots of friends did. It sounds like they need to add some "potato skins" to the menu, just in case anyone's arteries have any room left after the rest of the menu!

            1. re: CanadaGirl

              Funny you should mention potato skins. They ARE on the menu, with the description "All skins, no potato". I am trying to figure out whether all east coast potato skins are the way I remember them: the skins of potatoes, spread out like nachos and topped with cheese, bacon and green onions. Soon as I started getting west, potato skins started to be halved or quartered potatoes, with some of the potato scooped out and then topped with the cheese, etc. I'm guessing I'm not the only one that misses the way they are done back home, cus the pub does them the way I like them.

              1. re: existential_crisis

                I can't think of a time I saw potato skins that didn't match your description. The nachos comparison is perfect. I can't remeber the last time I had some. I wonder if I could still handle them.....

          2. Here's evidence of tempura oysters at the Five Fishermen: http://eatlikeagirl.files.wordpress.c...

            From this blog entry: http://eatlikeagirl.com/2011/05/14/so...

            (Though I agree that steamed mussels and deep-fried clams are a thousand times more common in NS)

            -----
            The Five Fishermen
            1740 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS B3J 2B6, CA

            1. Steamed clams available in Darnley. Not as common as they should be, but they definitely exist here. Fried oysters, not so much.

              1. what is the pubs name in calgary?.sounds good and im in the city.

                2 Replies
                1. re: howlin

                  It's called Below Deck. It's hidden away on Stephan Ave underneath where King Henry 8th used to be. I like it there. It actually feels more east coast than other bars in Calgary.... less yuppies, more blue collar.

                  I still haven't tried the steamed clams. They have mussels now but I've been told they are store-bought. Also, the deep fried oysters have been taken off the menu (apparently they were terrible) and replaced by some deep fried scallops, which is a bit of an improvement.

                  I still think deep fried clams would better represent the food on the east coast.

                  1. re: existential_crisis

                    Steamed clams are usually only available close to their source, like in Five Islands near Parrsboro. My mom grew up in Five Islands, and there is nothing like fresh dug clams with some melted butter. So, I would say that steamed clams are just as representative of the east coast as fried, and maybe more respresentative. Steamed mussels are everywhere, but it's harder to find steamed clams.