Many people may be forgiven for thinking that the fortune cookie originated in China. Most fortune cookies in the world (and 3 billion are produced daily) are eaten in Chinese restaurants in the United States. However, fortune cookies actually originated in Japan. And now Japan has improved this tried and tested design.
It had been thought for many years that fortune cookies originated in China and were imported into America in the early 1900’s. The popularisation of fortune cookies in the west can be lent to Chinese restaurants in America. A researcher called Yasuko Nakamachi decided to sort out this question and spent six years investigating their origins. He discovered a small bakery in Kyoto who had been making these little cookies for many, many years. Much longer than the cookies had arrived in California. These cookies were also made with a traditional technique. Made by hand and cooked over a flame.
In researching literature, Nakamachi found references to fortune cookies dating back to the 1800’s, more than 100 years before they turned up in America. These original and traditional cookies are a little different from the ones you may eat today. They are bigger and darker as they are flavoured and made with miso and sesame rather than with vanilla as they are in America. In Japan, they are known as tsujiura senbei and offer a random fortune to the eater.
The introduction of fortune cookies into America can be traced back to Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese American, who worked at the Golden Gate’s Tea Garden. These cookies were served in his tea house starting in the 1890’s. However, this is disputed as two other people also claim to have invented and introduced the cookie. The origin of the cookie’s mass production, however, can easily be traced. Shuck-Lee developed a machine which allowed these cookies to be mass produced. This allowed prices to fall and for them to be a commodity, rather than a luxury.
Felissimo Inc have really thought outside the box! They have just produced the “Hide-and-Seek Kitty Candies”. Basically instead of a fortune or message the cookie contains an adorable chubby kitten. Also, these cookies are a little different on the outside. Instead of the usual half moon shape they are a triangle, probably to allow the kitty some room to breathe. And these little kitties aren’t mass produced either. They are hand painted so the pair you will get in a pack will have their own individual differences. Available for ¥2,372 you can get these cuties on their website.
Have fun browsing all the adorable cat designs and order some for yourself! Enjoy this new style of fortune cookie!
・112 Things to Do in Kyoto, a City of Culture, Tradition, and Breathtaking Beauty, in 2018
・Wagashi Calendar: Japanese Sweets and When to Expect Your Favourites
・The Japanese Meringue – Karumeyaki