幸運籤餅 – fortune cookie affair

Being in AMWF relationship has surely many advantages. I mean his clothes fits you and probably he’s a ‘keeper’. But when it goes to dining out…


Last week we’ve been to SF’s Chinatown, dine in great Chinese restaurant. Two white guys next to me got their fortune cookies. I smiled to my husband with the ‘dessert-smile’ a.k.a. creepy sugar-wanting face, finished my food and waited for my cookie. We went out and 10 minutes later I’ve realized I didn’t get my cookie. If I wasn’t so lazy I might even went back. Yup, your man defines you. But what’s the whole thing with fortune cookies?

“True story about fortune cookies—they look Chinese, they sound Chinese. But they’re actually an American invention, which is why they’re hollow, full of lies and leave a bad taste in the mouth.”

What really surprises American people going to China or Hong Kong is that they don’t serve you one at the end. Maybe because a lot of them don’t even know what’s that. It’s not a Chinese thing, doh – it’s not even truely American. Fortune cookie is based on Japanese recipe.


“Introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately … consumed by Americans.”

Maybe I wouldn’t be so into the fortune-cookie thing if we didn’t have one of the biggest factory quite close to use. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company was established in 1962, they make traditional fortune cookies, as well as chocolate flavored fortune cookies, almond cookies, and other sweets. Visitors can observe workers using motorized circular to create fortune cookies, which they sell for $3 a bag. The company also makes fortuneless cookies.  I guess jokes ‘Help! I’m trapped in a Chinese fortune cookie factory‘ might not be so funny there.

Flour, sugar, vanilla and sesame seed oil. Could it really suit Asian taste? I’ve done a tiny research and that’s what Chinese people think of fortune cookies:

  • ‘New, but tasty – great experience traveling to America’
  • ‘It was my first time to America, I went with my friend to eat Chinese food and got a cookie. I didn’t know there’s a thing inside so I ate it. My thought was ‘Wow, what a bad quality, they even have a piece of paper inside’ and American guy next to us asked me with shocked face ‘Why you eat it like that? It’s fortune cookie, invented by you! You don’t have it in China?’. Not the best experience.
  • My husband’s opinion – ‘First time I’ve seen it was in Freaky Friday movie. For me it has no taste, if I eat it it’s because of the fortune inside, not because of the taste’
  • ‘First time I saw it I thought it’s fried wonton with lotto-ticket inside’
  • ‘Whenever we go to America we buy a whole bag of fortune cookies for our Taiwanese family and friends as a souvenir. How ironic is that?’


Does it suit my taste? Nope, it’s not a kind of the dessert I like. Besides I love the way Chinese people separate dessert from the main meal, they have their own dessert place, not like most ‘white’ places: appetizer, main course, dessert. Cannot fit all of that into my stomach at one meal. For Chinese restaurants ‘dessert menu card’ doesn’t really exist. You eat, hang around then get some boba milk tea and pineapple bun.

Have you ever tried a fortune cookie? Did you like it? Any memorable fortune waiting for you? Share your experience and feelings about American-Japanese-Chinese child of desserts. 


23 thoughts on “幸運籤餅 – fortune cookie affair

  1. I admittedly only break open the fortune cookies for the fortune and throw away the cookie. 🙂 I would much rather have an orange slice or other fruit after dinner.
    (I like dessert for breakfast not after dinner anyways) 🍩


  2. I’m from Seattle. But three weeks ago we were in SF for my nephew’s wedding. The next day after lunch in Chinatown with another nephew, we stopped by that fortune cookie factory and my daughter bought a bag of cookies. Actually, I like fortune cookies. One cookie is just a little taste of sweetness after a meal. Chocolate mousse or key lime pie might be more delicious, but who can eat so much at the end of a meal? Now that you have me thinking about desserts: Have you ever had sans rival or the kind of mango pie they make in the Philippines? Yum.


  3. My friend and I bought a fortune cookie from a little Asian shop (Basically it’s full of anime figures, waving caves, chop sticks and Chinese dresses) once. I think mine said I will live for a long time and her’s said she will travel a lot. My Mum also got us all one from the Chinese takeaway once. I don’t think I ate them though, they’re not very tasty. They’re like really hard wafers. I just like the little fortune in the middle 😀


  4. I visited this fortune cookie company when I was in San Francisco, too.
    Fortunate cookies don’t have much taste, so I can’t really say I like them. BUt it is fun to end a meal and crack open your fortunes and read them aloud. Here in America, it’s considered bad luck not to at least take a bite. So we do. And sometimes we carry our little fortunes around with us if we like what they say. I think I have a few in my wallet. 🙂


  5. Thanks for the like! I saw a short film about a fortune cookie once that reconciled a bickering couple because the guy writing the fortune wrote it specifically for them. Very cool.


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  7. I don’t really like fortune cookies. I’d rather have a real dessert such as homemade hot apple pie. Mmm!.
    A funny story: At our Chinese restaurant in our town in central US, I often order hot tea, because I like hot tea with a meal, a habit I learned from my parents. The tea bag has a tag with writing on it in Chinese and I asked our server what it said, in English. She told me, “Tea.”
    I had to laugh.


  8. Hahaha! Great post! I always think I should write on this, but never get around to it… After 15yrs with my Chinese/HKer hubby, I definitely kwym on this one! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by our site. Hope you enjoyed it! – I’ll be back to read more of your thoughts, seems like we have a lot in common already! 🙂 -JK


  9. I lived in LA for a few years. When I first got there I was like what the heck is a fortune cookie? And why is there teriyaki chicken and curry at a chinese resto?!


  10. I am Chinese from Hong Kong. When I moved to the States, I was intrigued by this American invention- Fortune Cookie! But I love them…now that I am living in Asia again, I miss them. Great post! Cheers, Mom of Dragon Boy


  11. Sure I might occasionally have a fortune cookie…it’s like having a wafer or cracker to me. It’s kind of tasteless to me. I was born in Canada and lived here all my life.

    But yes, I am aware it’s not Chinese.


  12. Saw the comment from chennicole2013 about sans rival in the Philippines. They make them in the province where I come from. Really good. You can also try buko pandan salad.


  13. Fortune cookies are a funny thing indeed — nice post, Lina! You might be interested also in the book “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” which traces the history of these (and other aspects of Chinese food in the US).


  14. The day before I left the US for my current 5 month trip in Asia I went out with some friends for a Chinese food lunch. When I received my cookie at the end, I cracked it open and it was empty! A bad omen? Or just a lack of quality control? 😀 I will go with the latter! My friend, who likes to put a positive spin on everything said that it meant “infinite possibility” Great post!


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