Friday, January 31, 2014

The Mystery of Fortune Cookies

Today is Chinese New Year so I thought I'd take a moment to talk about fortune cookies because they're fun and I like them. Fortune cookies were not invented in China, but they are certainly part of the Chinese restaurant culture here in the U.S. 

The folded cookies were actually invented in California in the early 1900s. Sources dispute who actually invented the cookie, although most site either a Japanese immigrant named Makoto Hagiwara in San Francisco or a Caton native named David Jung who lived in Los Angeles. 

The photo above is from a fortune cookie factory in San Francisco's Chinatown where you can have your own fortunes inserted into the cookie. It's called the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and it's down a little alleyway. Here's the contact info: 56 Ross Alley (at Jackson St), San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 781-3956

It's not a big place and they charge 25c if you want to take a photo. Watching how hard the crew worked, I did not mind paying them for the photos. They provide you with little slips of paper to write your personalized fortune on, but if you know in advance you plan to go, I would print the fortunes out on the computer. It's so much neater. The fresh fortune cookies smelled so fabulous and we bought cookies rounds with out fortunes freshly baked to munch on. 

If you can't make it to the factory, you can always order personalized cookies online

I tried to make fortune cookies once and wound up burning myself as we folded the cookies. This video approaches the whole process much more intelligently than we did. 

I find that some cookies don't actually have a fortune in them. It's more a comment than a fortune, like "You have a sparkling personality." I like the fortunes much better. 


  1. I wish I knew about this place last time I was there! I have a fortune cookie maker I'm trying out this weekend. Cross your fingers.

  2. Have you read the Fortune Cookie Chronicles? It's pretty entertaining, and traces the history of the cookies as one of its sub-plots...

    1. I haven't heard that one. It sounds like a hoot.