Fortune Cookie History

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Many people ask: Where were fortune cookies invented?

Surprisingly the fortune cookie was invented in America, not China. Although, KC Fortune Cookie Factory owner Sunny Kwan and his family are Chinese.

There is a debate in California as to who actually first invented the fortune cookie, and from which culture it is derived.

According to online resourses, a cookie very similar in appearance to today’s fortune cookie was first made in Kyoto, Japan. But they were larger, and made of sesame and miso instead of our well-known flour, sugar, vanilla and egg ingredients. They did contain a fortune, however. Maybe this could even be considered the very first personalized fortune cookie! But in these the small slip of paper was wedged into the bend of the cookie, not placed inside the hollow portion.

It seems that many of the people who are believed to have invented the fortune cookie are in-fact Japanese, so people think these bakers modified a bakery item they were used to from their upbringing.

It is also cited that Makoto Hagiwara was the first person in the US to have served the modern fortune cookie in the 1890s at the Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Gardenin San Francisco, but the fortune cookies were made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo.

In Los Angeles at the Hong Kong Noodle Company, founder David Jung made a claim that he invented the cookie in 1918.Yet Seiichi Kito, the founder of Fugetsu-do of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, said he made the fortune cookie first, and got the idea to place the fortune slip into a cookie by visiting the temples and shrines in Japan where Omikuii (random short inspirational writings on paper) are drawn from a box in hopes for good luck. He went on to sell these sweet treats filled with inspiration to Chinese restaurant, and hence is why many believe the cookie to be Chinese.

Today’s fortune cookie is no longer folded by hand (unless done so as a tourist attraction) since large machines have been designed, which allows some companies to produce up to 4.5 million fortune cookies a day. This mass production of fortune cookies have made the item less expensive and available at almost every Chinese restaurant in America.

Keefer Court Food supplies much of the upper Midwest’s food distributors with restaurant style fortune cookies for wholesale customers, but has also developed the ability to offer custom fortune cookies. And we’ve even uploaded a fortune cookie message idea database to ease the process of creating personalized messages for the fortune cookies.