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Fortune Cookie Day - Not So Chinese

Updated on August 31, 2017

The Not-so Chinese Fortune Cookie

September 13th is Fortune Cookie Day! But the Chinese are absolutely befuddled with being given credit for the origin of fortune cookies. Even though these crisp cookie confections are most commonly associated with the end of a Chinese meal in America, and now in other countries as well, they are definitely an American tradition, and most likely originated in San Francisco. Ah, now I get it, you say, San Francisco's Chinatown, still "Chinese." But still wrong! They are most credited as coming from San Francisco's Japanese Tea Garden with root origins in Kyoto, Japan. The Japanese fortune cookies that provided the inspiration for Chinese fortune cookies are similar in idea, but very different in taste and size.

So now that we have the origin of the fortune cookie cleared up, the idea was absolutely pounced upon by the Chinese restaurant owners in San Francisco who in the early 1900s quickly popularized the tradition of a fortune in a cookie after every dinner.

Photo: Amazon

You love Chinese food!

Click to Open a Cookie and Receive a Fortune

Click to Open a Cookie and Receive a Fortune
Click to Open a Cookie and Receive a Fortune

How do the fortunes get inside the cookie?

The cookies are actually round disks of dough that are folded while they are still warm. The fortunes are placed on the disk and folded inside the cookie while it's still pliable. They harden as they cool to a crisp cookie.

Photo: Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory


Fortune Cookie Wedding Favors

Fortune cookies are very popular wedding and other party favors. Gourmet fortune cookies are custom stuffed with a meaningful message for a special event.

Also popular are silver or gold fortune cookie place card holders or trinket boxes, wine charms, or even jewelry for the bridesmades.

Good Fortune Fortune Cookie Place Card Holder

Photos used with permission are credited in individual modules. Every other photo on this lens resides in original form in my personal collection.

It became a joke in our family when my daughter received the message several times running, "You love Chinese food!" and no one else got it.

What's Your Funniest Fortune Cookie Fortune? - Go ahead, make up your own if you want, but keep it clean!

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    • lesliesinclair profile image


      6 years ago

      Can't recall that any of them were really funny, but peculiar, yes.

    • Sarah Switalski profile image

      Sarah Switalski 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      I can't remember any off the top of my head but from the link below I got:

      "Tomorrow Morning,Take a Left Turn As Soon As You Leave Home"

      It's kind of weird. A left turn would take me to a dead end...

    • Nancy S Oram profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Oram 

      6 years ago

      It became a joke in our family when my daughter received the message several times running, "You love Chinese food!" and no one else got it.


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