Whether they arrive tableside on top of your bill or are nestled neatly beneath cardboard containers in your bag of delivery, fortune cookies are the highlight of any meal they accompany. But who is behind those subtle, crunchy treats and the words of wisdom that can be found inside each?
Wonton Food, Inc. — in addition to manufacturing noodles, dumpling wrappers, pre-made filling, and other products — produces more fortune cookies than any other company in the world, about four million per day end. From their facilities in Long Island City, New York, the cookies are shipped nation-wide, and grace the likes of more than 40,000 restaurants in the United States. Donald Lau has worked for Wonton Foods since the 1980s, when it was just a small noodle company in Chinatown; as the organization grew and production increased, he took over writing the fortunes for the cookies. Lau plans to retire from the Chief Fortune Writer position at the end of this ear, so the Eater video team sat down with him to learn about the tricks of his trade.