Ever wonder where your Chinese fortune cookies come from? No, not China.
Yup - you guessed. San Fransisco.
More Precisely this tiny little 'factory' in the dark and narrow Ross Alley which runs between two wider neon-glitzed throroughfares in Chinatown.
The batter goes into a moving belt with shallow circular indentations. It goes around, into an oven, and comes out vertical. The operator prises the cookie out of the indentation and if she breaks it tosses it into a bin of rejects. It is obviousy a tricky task as it was a rather full bin (from which we got to eat for free). The good cookies are still malleable and she presses the fortune slip in the centre and folds and twists them around a sticking-out slim pole of steel and drops them into a cooling tray which is emptied into the bin for good cookies, (from which we got to eat at $4 a big bag to take away.)
I asked this lady how many cookies they produced in a day. She looked up wearily and said, "Lots."