Made in America: The Fortune Cookie Isn't Chinese?

VIDEO: The Conversation: The Fortune Cookie Isn?t Chinese?
WATCH Made in America: The Fortune Cookie Isn't Chinese?

It comes with every meal you order at a Chinese restaurant: the fortune cookie. But did you know that the tasty after-dinner treat did not originate in China?

The fortune cookie is actually Japanese, introduced to the United States by Japanese-Americans in San Francisco.

The cookies are one of several things that you'll find in Chinese restaurants in America that most people in China have never heard of – and would wince at, if given a taste.

Take, for instance, the American take-out staple -- General Tso's Chicken.

"The Chinese people don't recognize it," said Jennifer 8. Lee, author of "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles." "I actually went and found General Tso's family ... and showed them all these pictures of General Tso's chicken that I had taken all around America. ... The question was often, 'Is this Chinese food?'"

Today on the Conversation, ABC's David Muir chats with Lee about the history of Chinese food in America, Chinese food myths and why obesity – once unthinkable in China – has become a growing problem.

We also visit the largest fortune cookie manufacturer in the world, Wonton Food, located in New York. Automated machines there produce about 4.5 million cookies a day and ship them across the United States and around the world, everywhere from Mexico to Germany. But one place they don't serve -- China.

"The people there say that it's too American," explained Danny Zeng, vice president of sales for Wonton Food, Inc.

We hope you'll watch today's Conversation for more.

Watch more "Conversation" videos here.

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