On a tour of the alleyways of Chinatown last week I learned something that I hadn’t heard before — namely, that the world-famous Chinese fortune cookie was invented right here in San Francisco.

That’s right — the fortune cookie is just about as Chinese as french toast is French. Which is to say, not at all.

Our young guide gave us the outlines of a history that is apparently well known around here, but something told me that it could bear a little further investigation — so I began to dig. it wasn’t long before I’d uncovered a number of competing claims, with contradictory connections to Japan, China, Los Angeles and of course, to San Francisco. Though a definitive answer remains elusive, have a listen and draw your own conclusions.

For further edification:
» Chinatown Alleyway Tours
» weird cookie fortunes
» Fortune Cookie Writer - New Yorker interview
» nice summary article

Musical support:
Thanks to 31d1 for “Gordon Shumway”, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network, my faithful podcast music suppliers