Did you ever wonder who was writing all of those fortunes every time you opened a fortune cookie? Well, no one actually knows where the fortune cookie came from. What is known is that this cookie made its first appearance in the U.S. at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California in the 1890s.
Two people say that they had the idea about fortune cookies. One is David Jung the owner of Hong Kong Noodle Company who says he invented them in 1918 which is much later than the first time they were seen. The other is a Los Angeles restaurant owner Seiichi Koto who says he got the idea about putting fortunes in the cookies from slips of paper that were being sold at temples in Japan and then sold the slips to restaurants in the city.
So if you thought that fortune cookies had everything to do with China you’re wrong. It was only in 1989 that fortune cookies were sold in China labeled as “genuine American fortune cookies”. Today you cannot find them in China.
Every year three billion fortune cookies are made. There is a machine known as the Kitamura FCM-8006W that makes 8,000 fortune cookies an hour.
If you live in the states and wonder where your fortune cookie came from then most likely it came from Brooklyn, New York. A company Wonton Food, Inc. makes 4.5 million fortune cookies a day.
The unique flavor of fortune cookies comes from a combination of vanilla and sesame oil.
Up until WWII fortune cookies called tea cakes because they actually start out round. Once they come out of the oven and are still soft they get wrapped around the fortunes and get their unique shape.
Up until 1995 when he developed writer’s block Donald Lau the vice president of Wonton Food wrote most of the fortunes. After that, an official fortune writer was hired and now there is a database of 15,000 fortunes on hand.
For those watching their calories, each fortune cookie has 107 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 milligram of cholesterol, 24 grams of carbohydrates and 13 grams of sugar.
I think the best thing about fortune cookies is that they are always free at Chinese take-out and Chinese restaurants. You also have the choice of learning to make your own or purchasing fortune cookies.