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The origin of Chinese fortune cookies

Fortune cookies have become synonymous with Western versions of Asian culinary experiences. Indeed, they are often served as a Chinese dessert in various Western countries, such as the United States and Australia, even though they have no traditional affiliation with China. Nonetheless, Chinese fortune cookies continue to be a popular novelty and sweet, primarily because of their simple taste and vague aphorisms contained inside.

Where did it all begin?

It’s difficult to discern the exact origins of the Chinese fortune cookie. In the 19th century, a similar-looking cookie was being made in Kyoto, Japan. However, there are some notable differences. Firstly, the Japanese version is often larger and made of slightly darker dough. Secondly, it contains sesame and miso in the batter, as opposed to a vanilla butter flavour in the modern fortune cookie. However, there are many competing stories to this claim.

Makoto Hagiwara is reportedly the first person in the United States to serve the Chinese fortune cookie. Hagiwara contends that he first began serving the dessert at the Japanese Tea Garden in Gold Gate Park, San Francisco during the 1890s. However, David Jung, who was the founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, argues that he invented the cookie in 1918. In 1983, a court case between Hagiwara and Jung ensued to determine who had rightfully invented the cookie. The Court of Historical Review ruled in favour of Hagiwara and the city of San Francisco, much to the disdain of Los Angeles.

Shift from Japanese to Chinese

In the United States, fortune cookies were dominated by Japanese vendors. Shortly after the Second World War, however, Chinese vendors began to monopolise the production of fortune cookies. During this time, all Chinese fortune cookies were made by hand. The invention of the fortune cookie manufacturing machine by Shuck Lee completely revitalised the industry. Invented in California, the machine allowed for mass production, streamlining production efficiencies and lower per unit prices. Because of this, the Chinese fortune cookies are often a courtesy dessert from the restaurant – incurring no charge.

What are they made of?

Chinese fortune cookies are very simple to make and consist of only a few ingredients, including egg whites, butter, sugar, vanilla extract and flour. The mixture is whipped for several minutes, until the flour has dissolved into the mixture. After this, the cookies are half-baked and then shaped, while placing the fortune inside. This ensures that the cookies retain their shape and are crispy when served to the customer. It only takes a minute to cook, reshape and cook again.

Whilst they are very tasty, their nutritional value is minimal. They contain approximately 20 to 30 calories, along with 7 carbohydrates per cookie. They generally contain around 3 grams of sugar.


Over 3 billion Chinese fortune cookies are manufactured around the world every year. The largest market for fortune cookies is in the United States, where the world’s largest manufacturer, Wonton Food Inc. is located. Wonton Food Inc. creates over 4.5 million fortune cookies per day for consumption.

Free Fortune Cookie Quotes and Messages for you to print.

A great way to end a fabulous meal with friends and family.

Find here a collection of General Fortune Cookie Quotes suitable for all occasions – family, friends and get together.

List of fortune cookie fortunes

List of fortune cookie fortunes

There is a true and sincere friendship between you and your friends.

You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability.

Ideas are like children; there are none so wonderful as your own.

It takes more than good memory to have good memories.

A thrilling time is in your immediate future.

Your blessing is no more than being safe and sound for the whole lifetime.

Plan for many pleasures ahead.

The joyfulness of a man prolongeth his days.

Your everlasting patience will be rewarded sooner or later.

Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before.

Something you lost will soon turn up.

Your heart is pure, and your mind clear, and your soul devout.

Excitement and intrigue follow you closely wherever you go!

A pleasant surprise is in store for you.

May life throw you a pleasant curve.

As the purse is emptied the heart is filled.

Be mischievous and you will not be lonesome.

You have a deep appreciation of the arts and music.

Your flair for the creative takes an important place in your life.

Your artistic talents win the approval and applause of others.

Pray for what you want, but work for the things you need.

Your many hidden talents will become obvious to those around you.

Don’t forget, you are always on our minds.

Your greatest fortune is the large number of friends you have.

A firm friendship will prove the foundation on your success in life.

Don’t ask, don’t say. Everything lies in silence.

Look for new outlets for your own creative abilities.

Be prepared to accept a wondrous opportunity in the days ahead!

Fame, riches and romance are yours for the asking.

Good luck is the result of good planning.

Good things are being said about you.

Smiling often can make you look and feel younger.

Someone is speaking well of you.

The time is right to make new friends.

You will inherit some money or a small piece of land.

Your life will be happy and peaceful.

A friend is a present you give yourself.

A member of your family will soon do something that will make you proud.

A quiet evening with friends is the best tonic for a long day.

A single kind word will keep one warm for years.

Anger begins with folly, and ends with regret.

Generosity and perfection are your everlasting goals.

Happy news is on its way to you.

He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.

If your desires are not extravagant they will be granted.

Let there be magic in your smile and firmness in your handshake.

If you want the rainbow, you must to put up with the rain. D. Parton

Nature, time and patience are the three best physicians.

Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.

The beginning of wisdom is to desire it.

You will have a very pleasant experience.

You will inherit some money or a small piece of land.

You will live a long, happy life.

You will spend old age in comfort and material wealth.

You will step on the soil of many countries.

You will take a chance in something in the near future.

You will witness a special ceremony.

Your everlasting patience will be rewarded sooner or later.

Your great attention to detail is both a blessing and a curse.

Your heart is a place to draw true happiness.

Your ability to juggle many tasks will take you far.

A friend asks only for your time, not your money.

You will be invited to an exciting event.

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