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FORTUNE COOKIES

The famous cookie with a mysterious past

BY: MACKENZIE GOODMAN | OCTOBER 2018



Fortune cookies may be able to predict the future, but their past remains surprisingly hazy.

The first fortune cookies were likely inspired by a savory Japanese cracker called tsujiura senbei. Although similar in shape to today’s fortune cookies, tsujiura senbei were darker, larger, and made with miso. Present-day fortune cookies are light in color, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and flavored with vanilla and sesame oil.

From here, things get a little tricky. There’s a lot of disagreement over who actually invented the first fortune cookie. One theory is that a Chinese man invented the cookie in 1918 to hand out to the poor. Another theory claims this famous cookie was created by a Japanese man who made them as a thank you gift.

Whatever their true origin may be, there’s one fact we’re certain of: despite their association with China and Chinese food, fortune cookies originated in and were popularized in America.

Fortune Cookies Open



In fact, fortune cookies are so popular in America that approximately 3 billion of these little treats are made each year. There’s even a machine capable of churning out 8,000 fortune cookies every hour!

While fortune cookies have been a staple in Chinese-American dining for decades, they didn’t actually make an appearance in China until 1989, where they were marketed as “genuine American fortune cookies.” The cookies enjoyed a few years of popularity, but gradually began to disappear due to lack of demand.

Today, these delightfully crisp little cookies are enjoyed at Chinese and other Asian-inspired restaurants all over the world!

Except in China. They still don’t eat fortune cookies in China.

Fortune Cookies Fortune