How They Get the Little Papers Into Fortune Cookies [WATCH]


When the bill arrived at my family’s favorite Chinese restaurant, there would be a tiny pile of wrapped fortune cookies on top. My brothers and I would snatch them up, crack them open, then compare fortunes while we munched on the cookies. Often, we’d ponder how the makers of these crunchy treats managed to fit the tiny papers inside. We’d float around theories of origami trickery or conclude that they slip the papers through the folds after they’ve baked. Like many things in life, the answer to this mystery turned out to be much simpler.

The video below breaks down the life of a humble fortune cookie, revealing the secret to getting those cheeky paper fortunes inside the cookie. Enjoy the abundance of bad puns and awful/great elevator music:


Bad Fortune.



via Cuddles and Rage


Today I Learned: Fortune Cookies Originated in Japan, Not China


If you’re still reeling from the Crunchgate scandal, I suggest you stop reading now. Granted, this time we won’t be discussing the legitimacy of a beloved national figure . . . at least not today (we’re looking at you, Tony the Tiger).

For those of you still reading, here’s the scoop: Those obligatory fortune cookies that come with the bill at Chinese restaurants? They’re originally from Japan (left) and are distinct from the Americanized version you get at the end of your meal (right).

fortune cookies

As you can see, the Japanese cookie is larger and made of darker dough. The batter is made of sesame and miso, rather than vanilla and butter, making it more savory than sweet. And that signature paper slip carrying your fortune? It’s simply wedged in the bend of the cookie, instead of inside the cookie’s hollow interior.

They’ve been around since at least the 19th century

19th century

Japanese fortune cookies have existed since at least the 19th century, quite some time before they became popular in the US.  According to this 2008 article by the NY Times, a book of stories titled Moshiogusa Kinsei Kidan contains an illustration featuring the iconic C-shaped wafers being grilled over coals. The book dates back to 1878 and the sign in the illustration reads “tsujiura senbei,” meaning “fortune crackers.”

Moreover, the cookies are depicted being made in the same way they are still prepared today in small Japanese bakeries, particularly those in Kyoto.

How did they find their way to Chinese restaurants?

Several people have claimed responsibility for inventing the Chinese version of the Japanese wafer, but we’re pretty sure that Hagiwara Makoto can take credit for the cookie culture mashup.  Makoto served the sweetened cookies at SF’s Japanese Tea Garden in 1914 and began commercially producing them after they proved to be a huge success. Fortune cookie fever hit, demand skyrocketed, and bakeries specializing in fortune cookies began selling them to both Japanese and Chinese restaurants.

Then the tiny historical speedbump known as World War II happened. Thanks to American suspicion of Japanese-American citizens, many Japanese bakery owners were sent away to internment camps for the duration of the war . . . which left Chinese restaurants as the primary supplier of fortune cookies to an increasingly demanding public. By the time the war was over and Japanese bakers returned, the paper-packed wafers were permanently associated with Chinese restaurants and the rest is fortune cookie history.

Fun fact: The only place where fortune cookies are considered decidedly un-Chinese is China. Shucks.

H/T NYTTofuguWikipedia + Pic Thx Huffpo, Dl


Chinese Zodiac Animals Double As Fortune Cookie Dispensers


Everyone knows the best part of a fortune cookie is the fortune, good or bad, and the opportunity to learn new words in Chinese like “bench” or “Sunday.” And with “Beijing Buffet Fortunes” by US-based designer, Caroline Brickell, you can add a whole new layer of fun and mystery to your fortune indulgence.

The set of 12 collectible cookie dispensers features each of the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs, meaning you can you dig up your fortune from the belly of roosters, pigs, monkeys, and tigers. Choose your favorite! Give ’em to your friends! Pick your allegiances! Go team snake!


3 (1)


H/T + PicThx Design Taxi


The Future of Fortune Cookies — Edible QR Codes?

Have you ever had a fortune cookie that babbled weird Chinese proverbs and made no sense whatsoever? Something along the lines of “A closed mouth gathers no feet.” Whaaat???

Well now thanks to Juchem Gruppe, a German food trade company and DFKI, the German Research for Artificial Intelligence, you can make your own modern day versions. The Qkie cookie mix makes 20 Qkies with QR codes pre-printed on edible paper. You can send your friends any videos, photos, or websites. The options are up to you and your imagination. They also make really awesome invitations, or even business cards! (6.90 euros @




Fortune Cookie Baby Booties

These adorable baby booties, sized for children aged 6-12 months, are perfect for the baby who’s so cute you just want to eat ’em up!  When not being worn, the booties curl up into the traditional fortune cookie shape.  An inspirational fortune is attached to each slipper.  On one foot, “From small beginnings come great things” and on the other, “An amazing adventure awaits you”.  They are handmade out of fleece by artist Della Slowik. ($28.00 @ Uncommon Goods)


Fortune Cookie Coin Purses

Made in the USA from recycled leather, each one of these Fortune Cookie Coin Purses measures 4″ x 4″ x 2″ with a unique laser etched ID number on the side. Comes complete with a dust bag and printed fortune inside. ($45 @ DianaEng)

Cravings Sweets

Lucky Cupcake: Fortune Cookie Baked Into a Cupcake

An amazing tribute to both cupcakes and fortune cookies from the folks at Bake It In a Cake! We’re looking at a fortune cookie baked deep into a Mandarin orange-sesame cupcake, topped with ginger buttercream and candied ginger. If you were wondering, each cupcake still comes with the fortune. The recipe is available here, and Foodbeast HQ in Southern California is accepting free samples if any of you decide to recreate this awesome dessert! Just kidding. But seriously we’ll try them.