Fortune Cookies and Celebrating the Chinese New Year in Jakarta

This Saturday 28th January marks the Chinese New Year; a festival that is celebrated by more than 20% of the world’s population, including Indonesia where approximately 3 million Chinese-Indonesians will celebrate the Year of the Rooster.

Throughout Jakarta, many Chinese New Year decorations can be seen including large displays at shopping centres, supermarkets and festive paraphernalia for sale at the *pasars, especially in the predominantly Chinese area of Glodok.

Chinese New Year display at a supermarket in Jakarta’s SCBD

To get us into the spirit of Chinese New Year, today we are making Fortune Cookies.
Using six simple ingredients, these special cookies take a little bit of time to prepare but the results are delightful and they taste delicious!


Wishing your Good Health and Prosperity
Gōng xî fā cái 

(Ps: Read our ‘Tips for successful baking’ at the end of this post before making these cookies)



ajb’s recipe for Fortune Cookies


(makes approx. 28 cookies)

3 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
115g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1 Tb water


  1. Preheat oven to 170oC
  2. Line baking tray with non-stick baking paper
  3. Prepare your fortune cookie messages (see end of post for some ideas!)
  4. Using a mixer, whip egg whites and sugar on a high-speed until thick and shiny
  5. One at a time, gently mix in cooled melted butter, vanilla essence and water
  6. Fold in flour

Note: You will know when you have the right consistency when it resembles pancake batter 

7. Using a teaspoon, spread batter into 8cm diameter circles on the prepared baking tray

8. Make 3 – 4 cookies at one time, allowing a few centimetres of space between circles as batter will spread (ensure batter is equal thickness)

9. Bake for 5 – 7 minutes or until edges of cookies begin to brown lightly

10. Move quickly, placing message in the middle and gently folding cookies in half. Be sure not to apply too much pressure (- as you do not want the fortune message to stick to the cookie)

11. Bring the opposite ends together to create a horseshoe-shape and place in muffin tin to ensure cookie retains this shape as it cools

12. Once completely cooled, store in an air-tight container

Inspiration for your fortune messages can come from anywhere.. even JRR Tolkein (The Lord of the Rings)

Tips for successful baking:

After the first batch, your tray will be hot. Allow it to cool until warm then spread the batter for the next batch onto this tray. This will help the batter to spread more evenly.

Make a maximum of 4 cookies at one time so that you can fold them whilst they are very pliable.

After placing the message inside, do not press cookies closed as it will be difficult to extract the message once the cookie is cold.

Use a spatula to gently fold the cookies and place in muffin trays to help them hold their shape.

If the biscuits become chewy, place in microwave for 15 – 20 secs then allow to cool.

Have fun with your messages: You can make these cookies for all occasions and write messages accordingly.

Some fortune messages for inspiration.. but be creative! Why not write your own?

More Interesting facts about the Chinese New Year

The Chinese Zodiac consists of a 12-year cycle of animals related to the Chinese lunar calendar.

The date for Chinese New Year changes each year but always falls between 21st January and 20th February, as per the Chinese lunar calendar.

This year, 2017, is the Year of the Rooster. Those born in Rooster years are generally self-confident, outgoing and skilful but can also be impatient, overconfident, righteous and impressionable.

During this significant time, people work to make amends and reconcile with others. They avoid offending and work to re-establish old acquaintances which may have fallen by the wayside.

Gift giving is priority as is wearing of new clothes. Spring cleaning one’s house is also of importance.

Some of the more traditional gifts for Chinese New Year include boxed fruit, especially apples, oranges, mandarins and even imported cherries. Gift-wrapped cumquat trees are also a thoughtful offering.
Kue keranjang or ‘basket cakes’ are a traditional gift from Sukabumi in West Java

During Chinese New Year literally billions of red envelopes are exchanged. These envelopes are filled with cash and are given out by older people to younger; from bosses to employees and from leaders to subordinates.

Did you know?  In both the Tibetan – and Nepalese zodiac, the Rooster is replaced by the bird.

*Pasars = markets

Words: Jo   Photography: a journey bespoke


  1. Huey Miin says

    Another great post! I’ve never made fortune cookies before, so it’ll be on my list to try next – thanks for the recipe! 😊

    • ajourneybespoke says

      Hi Huey Miin! So nice to hear from you 🙂 Let us know how you go when you give the recipe a try. We would love to hear what your ‘fortune’ messages are also! Best wishes, Jo & Liz

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