One of the most famous spots in all of Manhattan’s Chinatown, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is easily recognized by the friendly looking green dragon outside. Not a factory at all, this small and frequently packed ice cream shop is open year-round, even during the coldest months. Since 1978 this shop has been doing ice cream right: fresh and homemade with love and care.
The Factory is best known for its Asian inspired flavors: red bean, green tea, sweet and nutty almond cookie or the unusual and delicious black sesame. Typical flavors such as chocolate, pistachio and mocha chip are equally delicious, with no less care going into each creamy scoop. This is without a doubt some of the best “Chinese restaurant” chocolate ice cream you will ever have. Toppings here also range from the traditional to the Asian influenced with options including lychee, mochi, red bean, sprinkles, candies and chocolate syrup.
While the Asian-inspired flavors are the main attraction, the pumpkin pie ice cream is surprisingly satisfying too. Come in any time of year and you can find this gloriously deep orange ice cream sitting like royalty on a cone (or a cup if you’re one of those people). On one sad occasion I dropped such a beauty on the floor, but the amazingly nice staff (who are always happy to offer samples) were kind enough to give me another one.
Like much of Chinatown, this shop is cash only so make sure to bring your wallet or stop at an ATM before visiting. The ice cream is great, but more expensive than other options in the area. One scoop will cost you $3.75, two for $5.75, three or a pint for $6.95 and a quart for $11.75. The Factory also makes ice cream cakes that start at $16.98 and takes custom orders for when you feel like treating someone…or yourself (nobody has to know).
Location: 65 Bayard St (bet Mott and Elizabeth)
Hours of Operation: Daily 11am to 10pm