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Not Made in China

There are three things that Americans associate with Chinese food:
1. MSG, aka monosodium glutamate
2. Cheap take out/delivery
3. Fortune Cookies

Only lesser known is the fact that Fortune Cookies are NOT Chinese. They are more likely Japanese in origin. I can't find the original article that I read over a year ago about someone who tracked them back to this one bakery in Japan, but if you find it/know it/have it bookmarked, let me know in the comments and I'll add it.

Fortune cookies are not found in China. One woman, Jennifer 8. Lee (yes, middle initial "8"), has written an awesome sounding book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles about the cookie, the 2005 Powerball debacle, and how she went around China handing them out to puzzled Chinese people.

The following video is from her. I love the confusion over the discovery of the paper.


Also, as I found on her blog of the same name, she found someone in Beijing actually making them as novelty cookies. In her NY Times article "First, Crack Them Open (Like Americans Do!)", the baker, Nana Shi (probably Shi Na Na in Chinese), actually prints instructions on how to eat them and there is paper inside.


Does this remind anyone else of the ever-grammatically incorrect "How to Use Chopsticks" instructions on the paper packaging of disposable chopsticks? It does to me.

Just for fun, here's a picture of the instructions from one of my favorite sushi restaurants at home in Minneapolis.