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Cookie Chronicles: Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company, San Francisco

Now I am going to tell you about the strangest place I went in San Francisco. 

It was called the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company.

I learned about this treasure from Anna Roth's new book West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food from San Diego to the Canadian Border , which is hot off the presses, which I leafed through in one of my new favorite bookstores, The Booksmith, on Haight Street. It's an ode to eating on the Left Coast, and it has plenty of sweet tips. One in San Francisco fascinated me beyond all others though:

and so the next day, SpySis and myself went down to Chinatown to find this place for ourselves. Ross Alley is a strange little spot, hard to find in spite of a fairly central location—it's kind of 'round the corner and very unassuming. But round the corner and there it is, smelling like vanilla and sugar.

You walk in and it's like walking into a David Lynch movie—a bunch of old Asian women (and one man, when we visited) pressing and folding fortune cookies in the back (and a stern sign that it is “50 cents to take a picture”--I paid up, there was someone strictly enforcing it) and a very straightforward (no cute displays here) retail area up front, selling fortune cookies by the bag, less than $5 for a huge bag. They had vanilla, chocolate, and swirl, and even ones that were filled with “adult fortunes”. We didn't pick up one of those, but a bachelorette party behind us did.

They had free samples of unfolded cookies too (pictured top), and they tasted...well, like Fortune Cookies. Personally I'm not a huge fan of fortune cookies, finding them to be too wafer-cardboard-sweet for my tastes, but SpySis said they had a leg up on regular varieties. Of course, it's very possible that this is because of the experience surrounding this cookie; it was definitely a unique sweet experience.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company, 48 Ross Alley, San Francisco.

Also, buy the aforementioned West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food from San Diego to the Canadian Border book by Anna Roth here.

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Reader Comments (5)

I went to the GG Fortune Cookie Company on a kindergarten field trip to China Town. I had forgotten this memory until I went there about a year ago with my mom and young son. The memories flooded back and the place hadn't changed a bit. I told the young lady who took our money my story and she said she was certain that it was her grandmother that sat at the cookie folding station that day.

I remember being admonished on the bus ride there not to try to imitate the Chinese we heard because we might inadvertently say something swear-like.
July 2 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Definitely Lynchian, and just another reason why San Francisco Chinatown is still so magical to me. I went there years ago...but back then there were absolutely no photos allowed - insert extra stern sign and offending cameras snatched from hands - and I'm pretty sure the little old ladies weren't wearing gloves (eek!). Still...I ate them. And they were delicious. MAGICAL!

I am so glad that little place is still around!
July 2 | Unregistered CommenterJaynie
I love that place. It feels like you've stepped into another world!
July 4 | Unregistered CommenterjustJENN
AW MAN! We just got back from SF this week! I totally would have gone. It sounds a little intimidating... but totally worth it for the giant bag-o-fortunes for $5!
this place is awesome! i try to go here ever time im in san francisco. not only do they have the regular fortune cookies for cheap, they also have the flat versions w/o fortunes, which i prefer. mmmm sooo gooooood!
July 8 | Unregistered Commentereli

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