Chinese manufacturers would begin to take over the production of fortune cookies during World War II.
The fortune cookies you enjoy after your Chinese meal do not have the origins you would have imagined. To get started, they were not invented in China, and then there is more than one manufacturer in the United States who claims to have created them for the first time, however, its origin would be older.
Yasuko Nakamachi, a researcher at the University of Kanagawa almost certainly says that fortune cookies were created in Japan, according to a New York Times article.
In the late 1990s, he observed outside of Kyoto, he saw that familiar shape to fortune cookies at a family-owned bakery called Sohonke Hogyokudo. The family has owned for three generations and they point out that the cookie tradition already existed.
The Japanese bakery has used the same 23 fortunes over the decades. In contrast, one of the manufacturers in the United States, Wonton Food, has a database of more than 10,000 fortunes. Like the Sohon Ke Hogyoku Do bakery, there are others in nearby places and they have some differences from the United States.
The Japanese cookies are bigger and brown because their dough contains sesame and miso instead of vanilla and butter. The paper is tucked into the crease of the cookie and not into the body.
In a 19th century storybook
One of the proofs of the Japanese origin of the cookies that Nakamachi found is an illustration of a storybook dated 1878, “Moshiogusa Kinsei Kidan.” In the book, an apprentice is making tsujiura senbei, or “fortune cookies.”
So, cookies appeared in Japan almost 30 years before the Japanese and Chinese immigrants in California claimed to have invented them between 1907 and 1914.
The immigrants who claim to have created the cookie
Suyeichi Okamura, an immigrant from Japan who founded Benkyodo in San Francisco and claimed to have first made the Japanese cookie in the United States.
David Jung, a Chinese immigrant, founder of Hong Kong Noodle Company In Los Angeles, he claimed to have invented the fortune cookie just before WWI.
In the story shared by Eat This Not That, Jung gave out the cookies to the poor for free and placed a strip of paper with a scripture on it.
Seiichi Kito, founder of Fugetsu-do in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, he also claimed to have invented the fortune cookie in the early 20th century.
How did it become a Chinese restaurant dessert?
Researcher Nakamachi believes that Chinese manufacturers began taking over fortune cookie production during World War II when Japanese bakeries closed as Japanese-Americans were detained and sent to internment camps.
While in Japan small bakeries still make them in a traditional way. The United States is made by the thousands a day with metal fingers to fold the fortune in half to trap it inside the cookie.