I’ll be celebrating my birthday a few days after this piece is published. For some reason, I seem to frequently celebrate my birthday with Chinese food, so I figured I’d write about a rather unique place in Chinatown I found out about nearly a decade ago (yikes, I feel so old!). Rewind to March 28, two thousand and something, when my family and I just walked out of a Chinese restaurant on Mott St. looking for dessert. Long behold, we find Chinatown Ice Cream Factory on Bayard St., between Mott and Elizabeth Streets. I don’t remember much else from that first visit except that I was very impressed, and that they had some unique flavors like Ginger (my pick) and Black Sesame. It’s not the best quality ice cream I’ve ever had (that title goes to an ice cream stand in St. David’s, Wales), but the exotic flavors were both rare and good.
A few weeks ago, I visited this Chinatown Ice Cream Factory again with a friend, and I tried a different flavor: Green Tea Oreo. Big mistake. The ice cream was still premium-quality, but the flavors simply didn’t mix. Oreo ice cream is one of my favorite (western) ice cream flavors, and the Green Tea alone didn’t seem bad, but the flavors were not a good combination.
I also noticed that the prices went up quite a bit to roughly $5 for a small waffle cone since my visit in 2016. A small waffle cone has enough ice cream for what I would call a medium, but $5 is still a high base price. Another problem is that the place has become much more popular in recent years, so the small storefront can be very crowded, with lines extending out the door to the next storefront or two.
Overall opinion of the place: it’s still a good place. After my bad experience with Green Tea Oreo, I thought I would be writing about the rise and fall of the factory, but then I realized that it was simply the flavor. I can still say that Ginger and a few others are definitively good flavors, but Green Tea Oreo is definitely not. I suggest my readers go to the factory with some patience and a big wallet to try something new. If you like it, have it again some other day. If not, you don’t need to have it again. Just break your ice cream comfort zone first. It’s the whole point of trying new things.