Whether your kiddos are old enough to read or not, chances are they have eagerly cracked open their fortune cookies at your local Chinese restaurant and noshed on the yummy dessert. For Bay Area families who want to take their love for the fortune cookie to the next level, you’re in luck. San Francisco’s Chinatown is home to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, where you can cram into the tiny factory space to marvel at home these cookies are made.
Go: Year-round. The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is open every day of the week from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Get there: Footing it is best, as walking around Chinatown is all part of the fun. If you’re driving in, park on the outskirts of Chinatown around the vicinity of Grant and Pine, and walk the rest of the way up Grant toJackson Avenue. Ross Alley is just off of Jackson. BARTers, hop off at the Montgomery exit.
What to wear: Comfy, informal wear works great, especially if you’re heading to the park afterwards. (See below!)
Where to eat: There’s no shortage of dim sum cafes for a kid-friendly bite like chow mein noodles or egg rolls. For a snack fix, fruit stands in the vicinity are overflowing with bargain-priced produce like papayas and apples. Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant is located right where you’re headed at Grant and Jackson.
Things to do: More than one person will be heard saying “Is this it?” at the Golden Gate Cookie Factory doors. The factory is super tiny, and along the single hallway that encompasses the visitor area, crowds of people congregate throughout the day. The kids will be speedily appeased, as a big bowl of flat, round fortune cookies are available near the entrance. They’ll soon discover a few wonders, including the existence of chocolate-flavored fortune cookies, and the interesting stations where fortune-cookie batter drips into compartments, and factory workers shape soft, cooked dough into trays. This factory of just a handful of workers supplies fortune cookies around the world. Leave with a bag for as little as $1 to $4.75.
Bonus: Before you go, explore one of Chinatown’s parks and playgrounds, like the one in St. Mary’s Square, complete with a see-saw the whole family can swing on, climbing structures, a train, and tire swings.
Cost of trip: Free
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
56 Ross Alley
San Francisco, Ca
Tell us about your family’s trip to the Fortune Cookie Factory in the comment section below.
— Renee Macalino Rutledge
Photo of fortune cookies courtesy of Joelk75 via Flickr; all other photos courtesy of Renee