I have only ever been to one other “ice cream factory” in my life, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (http://bit.ly/2duYu9s) and that was a total success. Now I was ready to make room in my heart for the one I have come to love in Chinatown.
As you read in the previous blog I had spent a lovely Sunday eating dinner at the infamous Nom Wah Tea Parlor. It was my first visit there but it will certainly not be my last.
Any good Italian like myself knows that a meal isn’t officially over until dessert is served no matter how full you are. Those fat ladies never sing. We eat until we can’t breathe and then eat some more. I thought since we had shared all of our dishes at this dinner we should have some room for a tad bit of ice cream especially since it was so close by.
After a very brief walk around the corner, also a block closer to our car, I saw the line that signaled we had arrived. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is small but they are dishing out cones and cups filled with their specialties so fast you barely have time to read the long list of flavors. Thankfully I was prepared and walked it and ordered a scoop of almond cookie in a cup, I prefer cones normally but I felt like this was neater, easier, and the smallest portion I could get. I have been at this long enough to know my eyes are always bigger than my stomach.
The almond cookie ice cream is made with cookies from the Famous Fung Wong Bakery that is then blended into ice cream. It was the very first flavor on their list. It is the one I immediately gravitated towards when reading up on this place. It sounded too good to be true. As for the taste, I must exhale and calmly write that it was literally the best ice cream of my life.
This Chinese almond cookie should really be called “almond butter cookie” because that is what it tastes like. If I didn’t know any better I would think Paula Deen was in the back making the ice cream. It is that rich but I assure you it goes down smoothly and perhaps a little faster than you’d like.
The only ice cream that comes close to how delicious The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (CICF) is would have to be Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia (http://bit.ly/2duZE4W). When I am there my go to flavor is coconut and I get as many scoops as they will let me have. Believe me after waiting on that long line, even during the winter, you have to make your order worth it. And it is always worth it.
My prior experiences combing Chinese food with ice cream for dessert have been less than ideal. In the standard place near my home they bring out a dish of rainbow colored scoops of ice cream as a free dessert, this of course only applies if you are eating in and with a decent size group. Chinese food is mostly a delivery type of meal for me so I don’t have dessert too often, which is fine because their ice cream isn’t so great. The only flavor I like is pistachio but instead of nuts there are cherries. I don’t know why but I guess that’s what makes them, them. Ironically enough if I come back to CICF I would like to try their coconut and pistachio for comparison.
“CICF has been creating delicious ice cream for almost 4 decades and is often referred to as an ‘unofficial NYC landmark’.”
CICF began way back in 1977 created by the Seid brothers. This operation remains in the family with the current generations in charge, something they have in common with Nom Wah Tea Parlor.
As for the menu, “The Asian-inspired ice creams are called “original” flavors while chocolate and vanilla are labeled ‘exotic’.” A granddaughter of one of the original owners did it as a joke but it was so popular that they never changed it again.
Just another quirk making Chinatown’s Ice Cream Factory a hidden jewel awaiting your discovery.
Now that you know how I planned my latest excursion to Chinatown in N.Y.C. its your turn!
Be sure to use the websites listed below and let me know how yours goes!
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