The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

  • #26 on the New York Times Best Seller List
    and featured on The Colbert Report, Martha Stewart,, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose Tomorrow, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR stations coast to coast. Also selected for Borders Original Voices and Book Sense. Follow me on Twitter! Fan me on Facebook.

  • Archive for August, 2007

    Met with my factchecker today

    Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

    We’re almost at the finish line! The drop-dead deadline is September 5th, according to the letter I just got.  Today I met with my fantastic and sweet factchecker, Jennifer Stahl, who works at The New Yorker, for Cuban food at Havana Central on West 46th. Highly recommended (both the factchecker and the restaurant).

    The house were Lincoln’s assassination was planned? Now a Chinese restaurant named Wok n’ Roll

    Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

    Here is a bit of Chinese restaurant trivia: The Washington boarding house on H Street belonging to Mary Surratt, where the assassination of President Lincoln was planned is now a Chinese restaurant called Wok n Roll. (They serve sushi too.) These photos are courtesy of food blogger Erin Zimmer.

    I’m hibernating because I’m dealing with the copyedit…

    Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

    Dealing with a book opyedit is sort of a strange process if you have never dealt with it before, though good advice can be found on the Internet. One thing: you need to buy colored pencils, and not of colors already used, to write responses on the manuscript to the copy editors questions. I bought […]

    Manuscript is copyedited

    Monday, August 20th, 2007

    So the manuscript is copyedited! I was surprised because I actually get back a physical copy where I have to enter my comments in on the manuscript copy in pencil. And then this hand-edited document gets re-typed in with our comments and changes by a typesetter. I was surprised they don’t just enter the changes […]

    The fortune cookie writer is getting a little saucy…

    Friday, August 17th, 2007

    This fortune found on Flickr shows that the fortune cookie scribe was running out of ideas, no?

    A fortune cookie romantic comedy!

    Friday, August 17th, 2007

    This is another entry into the “Fortune Cookie as pop culture” canon. I was recently sent a cute funny DVD with a short romantic comedy called Fortune Hunters, about a guy who writes fortunes for his father’s forture cookie company and his embarrassing (and public) experiences to woo back his girlfriend. The short been accepted at least 10 different film festivals, […]

    Confucius say, You spend too much time on Facebook!

    Monday, August 13th, 2007

    Since Facebook opened up the gates for outsiders to create programs for its users, one of the most popular applications has been Fortune Cookie by Tyler Ballance of It now has more than 4 million users, making it variously in the top 10 applications of all facebook apps.  And now they let you “send” fortunes to people. The […]

    Wakiya NYC Gramercy Restaurant: Review & Reaction

    Sunday, August 12th, 2007

    I’ve visited six continents and 23 countries trying to find the world’s top Chinese restaurants outside of China. Wakiya in New York is not one of them (though it is priced as though it were). This is all the more sad because the original Wakiya restaurant in Tokyo is truly one of the most intriguing […]

    Can you wok the wok? Why Chinese restaurants aren’t dominated by chains

    Sunday, August 12th, 2007

    Chinese food is the largest restaurant segment not dominated by chains  — as opposed to hamburgers, pizza, Mexican and Italian. Big chains like General Mills and Darden have tried and fled with Leann Chins and China Coast. Of the 40,000 Chinese restaurants, the two big exceptions are the  Chinese restaurant chains Panda Express (fastfood) out of Rosemead,  […]

    General Tso’s Pizza? Why not?

    Saturday, August 11th, 2007

    Green Tea Chinese Bistro in Newington, Connecticut has decided to embrace Italian-Chinese fusion. Among their new dishes: General Tso’s pizza and roast pork pizza with scallions and red onions. Why not? It’s a bit California Pizza Kitchen — which offers among its choices Thai chicken pizza, mango tandoori pizza, carne asada pizza, and Jamaican jerk pizza. […]

    Some fortune cookies contain no fortunes?

    Thursday, August 9th, 2007

    I’m trying to decide if this fortune is incredibly zen or totally inane.

    They are supporting a family with your tips

    Thursday, August 9th, 2007

    Clem Richardson of The New York Daily News was scolded for being a poor tipper to the deliverymen at his local Chinese restaurant. He thought that $2 or $3 was pretty good considering they didn’t cook the food or have to keep visiting his table, figuring they make 15 to 20 deliveries an hour (this […]

    Conan O’Brien serenades dumplings in Mandarin

    Thursday, August 9th, 2007

    Conan O’Brien and a “Chinese deliveryman” sang a West Side Story-style duet about dumplings in Chinese during last night’s show. Came with subtitles and everything. Conan’s pronounciation was pretty decent actually.

    Made a reservation at Wakiya Gramercy for Friday

    Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

    Finally have a free night in the city, so I made a reservation at Wakiya with my friend Eric Lee. It wasn’t that hard to get a reservation for 2 (7, 8:45 or 9 p.m.) The feedback on Wakiya at New York Magazine’s Grub Street  and Chowhound have been lukewarm. The Amateur Gourmet has a post from James […]

    The joys of Slideflickr!

    Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

    After some trouble with Simpleflickr and Firefox, I decided to try Slideflickr as a way to do photos on this blog. It’s pretty simple actually. You just type in a set, a group or a user and it generates a line of code that you stick on a blog page and you get this neat […]

    Forget Atkins, South Beach, Lemonade Diets. The Ultimate Plan? Moving to China.

    Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

    John Vause of CNN says he has lost 10 pounds in the last several weeks because he is terrified of Chinese food products. As he writes: But these days, the joy of anticipation of what the next dish will bring has been replaced with, well, the dread of what the next dish may contain. When […]

    Stuck Elevator: The Super-Heroic Stationary Journey of Ming Kuang Chen (in Opera!)

    Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

    Ming Kuang Chen — the Chinese deliveryman who was stuck in an elevator for more than three days in 2005 — has apparently become quite the muse for creative artists. A movie script is in development, I’ve heard. I have a whole chapter in my book wrapped around him. And he also has been the […]

    The leading cause of death in the Chinese restaurant industry is homicide

    Monday, August 6th, 2007

    Peggy Lim of The News and Observer in North Carolina has put together a touching profile of Song Ni, 34, a Chinese restaurant owner who was fatally shot at the end of July in Stantonsburg, N.C. (population 800) during a robbery in his home. His wife and two daughters were in the other room. In […]

    Chinese food for Chinese vs. Chinese food for Americans

    Sunday, August 5th, 2007

    Nicole Mones writes about the duality of Chinese food for Chinese people and Chinese food for Americans in The New York Times Magazine. What’s the difference? According to Mones, “American taste” means Chinese-style dishes prepared with a limited range of pre-mixed sauces, usually no more than 5 to 7 per restaurant (These sauces — sweet and […]