In a pedestrian alley tucked into San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood, this tiny factory is one of the oldest producers of handmade fortune cookies in the United States. As other producers turn to automated labor, it is one of the last of its kind, and it’s in trouble—but not because its cookies aren’t delicious.
With their rent quadrupling over the past three years, the Chang family, who has run the operation since 1962, has come up with new ways to make do. They’ve opened up the factory to allow visitors to see how the cookies are made, a process whereby the hot, flat, baked cookies are peeled off a press and must be folded and bent within seconds, lest they harden and shatter before taking their final form.
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