Soft clams this year have gone way up in price compared to hard clams.
When fried I’ve always found hard clams, especially when they use chowders, to be slimy, and not anywhere near as tasty as steamer clams when fried……
In fact I’m a fifty year customer at Old Saybrook, CT.’s Johnny Ads ( yes, I was there the weekend they opened in 1957 at age 9)……….
They’ve always resisted but last weekend they were frying hard clams. I gave them back and they said their regular supplier was out of soft clams but they hoped to have them by this weekend.
As to clam strips, my understanding is that they’re acutally very large ocean clams cut in strips and available everywhere because they come ashore already frozen.
Not certain, but wasn’t it Howard Johnson’s that actually developed clam strips and trademarked Ipswich Clams?