Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

The Brunch with Bear team knows no better way to kick off summer than a good ol’ ice cream Sunday, so today we’re giving you the full scoop on the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory! (See what we did there?) (We are so funny.) If you are, like we are, lying on the floor because heat rises and it’s cooler down here, pick yourself up and get down to Chinatown!

Located at 65 Bayard Street, the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory can be found between Mott and Elizabeth Streets. The closest subway stops are Canal Street on the 6, N, Q, R, J, or Z trains, but you can also go to Grand Street on the B or D trains. The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is just a short walk from Golden Unicorn, Ping’s Seafood, and pretty much all the other restaurants in Manhattan Chinatown, so if you’re already there for dim sum, why not stay for dessert?

The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is a family-owned independent ice cream establishment down in the depths of Manhattan Chinatown. For almost thirty years, the good people behind Chinatown Ice Cream Factory have attempted to blend the Western love for ice cream with the beloved and unique flavors of Chinese cuisine. Plus, their logo is a cool dragon eating ice cream!

Besides the regular vanilla and strawberry, they also boast great flavors like almond cookie, black sesame, don tot (an egg custard pastry at dim sum), red bean, etc. etc. The best part is that they also serve house-made sorbet for all the dairy-free bears out there! The flavors change seasonally, as they are fruit-based, but you can sample as many as you like. When we visited the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory back in April, they had lychee, black raspberry, and mango papaya sorbet available. I wish there had been a dairy-free almond cookie flavor, but alas, there was not. I opted for the mango papaya sorbet, a beautiful sunset orange hue with a sweet, soft flavor.

The servers at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory are very friendly, informative, and totally willing to wash the scoop extra when you tell them you have a severe dairy allergy. Although it was still snowing outside, the place was packed wall-to-wall—arguably not hard for the small shop, but still—and yet the servers were calm, patient, and handled the mix of languages with ease and grace.

I grumbled at the snow freezing my hand on the outside while my ice cream froze my hand on the inside, but as my cousins pointed out, “This way it won’t melt!” Although I practically froze my face off with the combination of snow and ice cream, it was completely worth it. The mango papaya was tart but sweet and a lovely tropical aftertaste that made it seem like maybe we weren’t still in the middle of winter, but instead on a warm tropical island.

 Now that it’s summertime, it’s time to really embrace that warm island feeling—starting with the unbearable humidity and ending with a perfect scoop of ice cream. Happy Sunday and happy summer!