Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fortune Cookies in San Francisco

There has been quite a bit of controversy over the origins of fortune cookies. Thanks to the research of Jennifer 8. Lee in her book "Fortune Cookie Chronicles," it appears that these cookies are Japanese in origin.

Most accounts say the cookies were introduced to America at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Dates vary from 1894, when the Tea Garden opened during the Midwinter Fair, to the first or second decade of the 20th century. A few accounts say they originated in Los Angeles. However, this cannot be true since fortune cookies are tasty and nothing good comes from Southern California!

While most fortune cookies are made by machine, you can see them made by hand at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory at 56 Ross Alley in San Francisco's Chinatown. Since 1962, fortunes have been hand packed into the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. There is no charge to enter the factory and you are likely to be offered a free sample. There is a charge to take photos, but a better deal is to just buy some cookies!

The factory is open from 9:00 a.m. until the last tourists go home in the evening. Ross Alley runs between Washington and Jackson Streets, just east of Stockton Street.

If you would like to take a private tour of San Francisco that includes a visit to the Fortune Cookie Factory, please phone me at (866) 326-4237 or e-mail me by clicking here.

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