What is the Chinese term for "fortune cookie"?

Inspired by this thread, a question I’ve wrestled with for many years.

I’ve lived most of my life in China and I’ve never heard of such a thing as a “fortune cookie”. After moving to the West, finding out about this wonderful invention and returning to China, I questioned my relatives and friends, a fairly diverse group in regional terms, and none of them had ever heard of such a thing either. I was unable to even find a halfway close Chinese translation of the term “fortune cookie”. The closest I came was when a friend from Hong Kong related to me that these items were known in Hong Kong as “Mei Guo Bin”, or “American Cookies”, since it is widely known that Americans hold some odd beliefs about them, but never having been to Hong Kong I am unable to verify the accuracy of this claim.

Referece: Wikipedia on the history of the fortune cookie

So, any Chinese dopers have the straight dope? Is there a term I could use to explain the idea of fortune cookies to my Chinese relatives? Simply calling them by the literal name “Jian Bin”, which is what the Chinese resturants here call them, would probably only confuse things further.

Gorramit I can’t be the first person who’s ever asked this. Come on teeming millions, I want my $15 worth!

Well, I personaly haven’t the glimmerings of a clue but I asked a Chinese friend who also thought Jian Bin to but then came up with:

I have vague recollections of seeing something similar in our local-ish Chinese Supermarkets but haven’t been in far too long a while.

Why would there be a term for them if they don’t exist there? Fortune cookies are a (wonderful!) American invention and they’re not really popular in Asia… you saw that for yourself, didn’t you?

We call them… “biscuits”. Yeah, we haven’t really got a name for 'em either. I bet the folks in Taiwan/Hong Kong have come up with something though, even if it’s just “fou tun ku qi” or some crap.

Lived in Hong Kong three years, went to western and Chinese restaurants on a very regular basis, and never saw them. Have only ever seen them in the US, and occasionally as an import novelty (from the US) over here.

Since they were ostensibly invented by expatriate Chinese, it would only seem logical that they had a Chinese name, it would be mighty silly for them to be refered to by their english names in common speech, no?

That’s heavily disputed. It seems most likely that the fortune cookie was introduced to the US at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, by the landscape designer Makoto Hagiwara around 1914. His great-great grandson, Erik Sumiharu Hagiwara-Nagata, discusses the “invention” here (about one-third of the way down the page):

“Those stupid cookies to get the dumb Americans to come into the restaurant.”

Invented by the same guy who created General Tsao’s Chicken, also know as, “Let’s See If Those Morons Will Eat the Peppers”, or “Watch the Tears Flow”.


xing4yun4bing3 or literally ‘fortune’ & ‘cookie’…according to china wife.
xing4yun4quan4 is lottery.

posting from pda now so cannot display characters.

As far as I know, it’s just called a cookie, period. And there are a lot of Chinese and Chinese restaurants in my neck of the woods.

幸运饼 (xing4yun4bing3)