Incase you haven’t yet indulged in your favorite flavor cone this summer, it’s about that time—July is National Ice Cream Month! Normally, we’ll guess you’re a mint chocolate chip-er, a rocky road enthusiast, or even a peanut butter ripple king/queen. Agreed, they’re all great flavors, but we happen know a little place where you could try ice cream flavors beyond your wildest dreams. We’re talking black sesame, Thai iced tea, durian, and ginger. Coconut fudge and almond cookie.
Caught your interest? Ours, too. We get to work with customers everyday who do all sorts of amazing things, so we get really excited when we have even the slightest reason to brag about some of them. Those exotic ice cream flavors? You can get them all from our good friends in New York City, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
In the spirit of National Ice Cream Month, we took a brief look at their journey to becoming an NYC foodie staple.
Ancestral ice cream
Ice cream traces pretty far back in recorded history. In the Ancient Greek and Persian BC-era, it was made of snow, fruit, and sweeteners. Ancient records of the Chinese also introduced sweetened, frozen mixes of milk and rice. With all of the different recipes across history, there is some debate over the “true” composition of ice cream—ratios and formulas of milkfat, sweetener, emulsifies, and air content by volume.
For Christina Seid, the owner of Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, the correct “formula” dates back to 1978—the founding of the family business.
Christina’s father, Philip Seid founded the ice cream shop in New York City, and the store has been serving out deliciously exotic flavors ever since. Forget milkfat and air content—the recipe for Christina Seid seems much simpler: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Christina has been using the family recipe to treat New York City’s Chinatown to exotic ice cream flavors ever since her childhood.
Ice cream—a childhood favorite
Seid spent her weekends as a child helping her father out in the store. In numerous outlets like NBC News and The New York Times, she has told stories of struggle that go beyond those of an average up-and-coming small business. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, the shop faced extortion attempts and vandalism from Chinese gangs. Through the adversity, Seid’s father held his ground. Before long, the business began to blossom and take root in the community.
Seid continued to work at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory after college when business began picking up. Today, the shop faces no threat. Its exotic flavors continually appeal to both loyal and new customers, and have garnered up a great liking with the modern foodie population.
A perspective on palate
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is often described as an unofficial landmark in New York City, as New Yorkers flock to the shop for unique ice cream flavors that they can’t get anywhere else. The Chinese influenced offerings put into perspective the notion of a “classic treat.”
What do we mean? A classic flavor for the residents of Chinatown may be creamy Don Tot (Chinese egg custard), Red Bean, Lychee, or Durian. Meanwhile, flavors like Mint Chip, Pumpkin Pie, and Oreo Cookie are categorized as “Exotic Flavors.”
Christina and the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory store have created their own, refreshing way to enjoy the classic treat we all know and love. You can check out all of their delicious flavors here!
Happy National Ice Cream Month!
Enough talking about it, go get yourself some ice cream! If you’re lucky enough to be in the New York area this month, make sure you stop in, say hello to our friends, and give a fun new flavor a try. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy your favorite! Here in Philly, we’ll be getting ours from the ice cream truck.
Whether you take it in a cone, cake, cup, or sandwich; sprinkles or no sprinkles; there’s no wrong way to eat ice cream. Just don’t spill any on your t-shirt.
For more about Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, check them out on Facebook!