When it comes to eating Chinese food, my favorite part is always the end, when the fortune cookies come out. I love the crunchy snap they make when I break them in half to reveal the small strip of paper poking out from inside. I love their sweet, if somewhat bland taste, and I especially love their fortunes. Sometimes I get lucky numbers too, or how to say completely random and useless words in Chinese.
They’re silly, I know, and probably completely inauthentic. The cookies aren’t fantastic and the fortunes are always ambiguous enough to mean something to anyone. But I don’t care. I love them.
Which is why when I read that the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company was just a few blocks away from me, tucked away in a small Chinatown alley, that’s exactly where I beelined to.
There wasn’t a whole lot to see—three unamused workers sitting at an assembly line of fortune cookies, and a small, ancient man telling me in broken English that if I wanted to take a picture I’d have to cough up 50 cents, even though I was already buying a whole bag of freshly packaged fortune cookies. Opposite of the machines were shelves stocked with different types of fortune cookie-type treats. Some traditional, others “French adult cookies” (i.e. naughty fortunes), some in different colors, and others that were just flat discs, never having been folded into the standard shape.
I came, I saw, I paid 25 cents for the picture. (Didn’t want to break a twenty for another quarter, so I haggled with Gramps.) So what pearl of wisdom did my first fortune cookie impart on me as I cracked it open outside in the alley? “You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily.” Yup, sounds about right.