In the largest Chinatown outside Asia, the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory glows in the somewhat dark Ross Alley.
A group of writers from a Trafalgar Guided Vacation enter the building and see the fortune cookies being made. The untainted, non Americanized version looks flat. I was told that the fortune cookies as we know them, came from San Francisco, and had nothing "Chinese" about them.
The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory has been supplying cookies to Chinatown and around the world since 1962, and the cookies themselves come in all shapes and sizes. While the jury is still out on who officially invented the fortune cookie, this shop is about as authentic as one can get. Plus, they're delicious.
If you contribute $2 you can ask them for photography privileges.
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Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Although most of the manufacturing of fortune cookies is done outside of San Francisco, one factory is still running and is a popular tourist spot in San Francisco's Chinatown.
Of course the smell of the cookies being freshly made will draw you in. You'll get a free sample and be able to buy then in various-sized packages and flavors.
If you can elbow your way in you can observe the making of the cookies, where lots of people fold them by hand. Whatever money they make on cookies probably pales in comparison with the 50 cents they charge per photo—quite entrepreneurial of them!