One interesting tidbit of useless knowledge I picked up on a recent trip to San Francisco: the surprising origin of the fortune cookie.
For years I’ve heard it was an American invention– even though most of us associate the little curly crispies with Chinese cuisine. But I had no idea it was a Japanese immigrant who did the inventing! For many years Makota Hagiwara ran the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, where he served said fortune cookies. His claim to fame was even disputed by a Chinese noodle company from Los Angeles. But in 1983 the argument was settled in court (albeit a San Francisco court) and Hagiwara prevailed.
Just in case you were wondering why the cafe in the Japanese Tea Garden serves fortune cookies… now you know.