The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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    LAT: Bringing Fortune Cookies into the 21st Century.

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | January 26, 2009

    A Los Angeles Times columnist, Gregory Rodriguez, writes about Kenny Yee, who bought one of L.A.’s four Chinese fortune cookie factories. (Good luck, the margins are awful.) I wonder which four there are. There is Amay, Peking Noodle, now-defunct Hong Kong Noodle…which else.

    I’m a bit sad about this part of his piece.

    I hate to break it to you if you don’t already know, but fortune cookies aren’t from China. Depending on which story you believe, they were invented right here in Los Angeles by a Chinese-born noodle manufacturer, or in San Francisco by a Japanese immigrant who tended the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Either way, they’re a California invention that dates back to before World War I — classical Californiana.

    He doesn’t even acknowledge the thesis that fortune cookies are very likely from Japan. And even if he didn’t read that New York Times piece, another columnist in his own paper, Steve Harvey, wrote about my book and the Japanese origins last June. 🙁

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