Best Fortune Cookie

Japanese Tea Garden

Best Fortune Cookie

Fortune cookies taste pretty much the same, you say? Well, maybe, but the ones served in this venerable Golden Gate Park retreat score big-time points for no other reason than that the teahouse is the birthplace of the fortune cookie. (Please keep this a secret in Chinatown.) Japanese immigrant Makoita Hagiwara invented the crusty treat wrapped around a piece of paper more than a century ago and began serving it at the teahouse, a surviving remnant of a Japanese-village exhibit from the 1894 California Midwinter Fair. Run by the Hagiwara family until 1942 (shame to say, the family was interned along with other Japanese-American citizens during World War II), the teahouse for many years has operated as a concession of the city's Recreation and Park Department. But the cookies have never left the menu. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

 
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