Photos by Sandra Cifo, intro by Jessica Saia

The precise Californian city in which the fortune cookie was invented is the subject of perhaps the most heated debate of our time – so heated, that there was actually a mock trial held in the ’80s to settle the dispute, and San Francisco won. These days, the largest manufacturers are in Brooklyn and New York, but as in many instances, San Francisco wins for tiniest, cutest, and making-it-by-handiest – in this case, for fortune cookie manufacturers.

The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company in Chinatown consists of just three employees: Franklin Yee, Nancy Tom, and Ai Tam. The two women quickly fold the flat cookie discs around the fortunes with bandaged fingers to prevent them from getting scalded by the cookies (the cutest kind of burn), as they harden almost instantaneously.

Factory tours are free (if you can define “tour” as squeezing your body as far as you can through the awesomely cramped little shop), though it will cost you a steep 50 cents to take a photo. Because rent is due this week, save your money and just enjoy these incredibly pretty photos by Sandra Cifo.

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