Television shows like How It’s Made are very popular, but watch it on TV if you go see the real thing somewhere? If a tired old fortune cookie factory in San Francisco can become a tourist destination, why can’t your factory?


Every day, tourists pop into the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory to watch its three machines squirting out batter and bathing it in flames. Each one is the size of a piano and their operators only have a few seconds to stuff the batter with an enigmatically profound message before it hardens. The one-room workshop is narrow, long and fragrant with warm sugar and vanilla.

“Look! They’re making them!” a woman squeals during a recent visit.

Located in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the factory has been in business since 1962 and produces 20,000 cookies a day.

“There’s a certain amount of thrill to come into an old-school factory,” says tourist Joanne Phua, who followed a friend’s suggestion to see the factory while visiting from Las Vegas