Fortune Cookie History
The Mysterious Origin of the Fortune Cookie
Much to most American’s surprise, the fortune cookie is not a Chinese invention.
Cookies Actually Originated in California!
It is actually an American invention originating
in California. There are many theories, and much
speculation surrounding the mysterious origin
of the fortune cookie. As to in which city the
fortune cookie originated and as to who invented
it, Chinese-American, Japanese-American or 14th
century revolutionists, there has been much debate.
In 1983, there was even a mock trial held in San
Francisco's pseudo-legal Court of Historical Review
to determine the origins of the fortune cookie.
Legendary History of the Fortune Cookie #1
The Chinese immigrant, David Jung, founded the
Hong Kong Noodle Company while living in Los Angeles,
invented the cookie in 1918. Concerned about the
poor he saw wandering near his shop, he created
the cookie and passed them out free on the streets.
Each cookie contained a strip of paper with an
inspirational Bible scripture on it, written for
Jung by a Presbyterian minister.
Legendary History of the Fortune Cookie #2
Some claim a Japanese immigrant, Makoto Hagiwara,
invented the fortune cookie in San Francisco.
Hagiwara designer of the famous Japanese Tea Garden
in Golden Gate Park was an avid gardener until
an anti-Japanese mayor fired him from his job
around the turn of the century. Later a new mayor
did reinstate him. In 1914, to show his deep appreciation
to friends who had stood by him during his time
of hardship, Hagiwara made a cookie and placed
a thank you note inside. After passing them out
to those who had helped him, he began serving
them regularly at the Japanese Tea Garden. In
1915, they were displayed at the Panama-Pacific
Exhibition, San Francisco's world fair.
Legendary History of the Fortune Cookie #3
In the early 1900’s a plan was hatched
to transform San Francisco’s Chinatown from
a ghetto into a cute tourist attraction. San Francisco’s
Chinatown promised tourist a real Oriental experience.
The city promoted Chinese decorations, pageantry
and architecture. Supposedly, increased tourism
led to the invention of the fortune cookie to
fill the void of a dessert item. To fill the tourists
demands for a dessert, a worker in San Francisco’s
Kay Heong Noodle Factory invented a plain flat
cookie in the 1930s. This plain flat cookie, while
still warm, was folded around a little piece of
paper on which a hand-written prediction or piece
of Chinese wisdom would be found.
Legendary History of the Fortune Cookie #4
During the 13th and 14th centuries, China was
occupied by Mongols. The story goes that the Mongols
had no taste for Lotus Nut Paste. So, the Chinese
people hid sayings inscribed with the date of
their revolution inside the Moon Cakes where the
yolk would typically reside. Under the disguise
of a Taoist priest, patriotic revolutionary Chu
Yuan Chang, entered occupied walled cities to
hand out Moon Cakes to other revolutionaries.
These instructions coordinated the uprising that
successfully allowed the Chinese people to form
the basis of the Ming Dynasty.
Moon Festival became regularly celebrated. Part
of that tradition was the passing out of cakes
with sayings inside them.
It is thought that this legend is what inspired
the Chinese 49'ers working on the construction
of American Railways through the Sierra Nevada
to California. When Moon Festival rolled around,
they did not have any traditional moon cakes.
So out of necessity they improvised with hard
biscuits and the Fortune Cookie was born
Today’s Fortune Cookie
Fortune Cookies In Fun Colors & Flavors Make a Unique... And Tasty Treat!
Fortune cookies became common in Chinese restaurants
after World War II. While not traditionally part
of Chinese cuisine, American customers expected
desserts. So out of necessity the fortune cookies
thus offered Americans something familiar with
an exotic flair while still being economical for
the Chinese vendors.
Although there have been a few cases reported
of individuals actually liking the texture and
flavor of fortune cookies, most consider the fortune
to be the essence of the cookie. Early fortunes
featured Biblical sayings, or aphorisms from Confucius,
Aesop, or Ben Franklin. Later, fortunes included
recommended lottery numbers, smiley faces, jokes,
and sage, if hackneyed, advice. Politicians have
used them in campaigns, and fortunes have been
customized for weddings and birthday parties.
In 1988, Mike Fry invented the concept of fortune
cookies in fun flavors and colors and founded
Fancy Fortune Cookies®. The first gourmet fortune
cookie bakery specializing in custom sayings
as well as great tasting fortune cookies! Fancy
Fortune Cookies now provides fortune cookies in
a variety of flavors, colors, and with many options
such as, milk chocolate dipped, dark chocolate
dipped, white chocolate dipped, with custom sayings,
and full color imprinted fortunes.
Most recently they have become a volatile marketing
and direct mail tool used by fortune 500 companies
such as, Motorola, FedEx, Apple, Starbucks, MAC,
Victoria’s Secret, Johnson & Johnson,
Guess, Ashley Furniture, Sony, Honda, Lilly, Pfizer,
Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bank of America, GM, AT&T,
and many more.
of the World's Biggest, Most Prestigious Brands
Trust Fancy Fortune Cookies® for Unique, Memorable,
and Profitable Promotions