Pidginmoji Fortune Cookies Stay Cracking Us Up

But da Pidgin-kine fortunes stay true or wot? We wen put ’em to da test.


Pidginmoji Fortune Lee Tonouchi

Photo: Lee Tonouchi


My friend Kent told me. Ermile told me. Marcie told me. Know-ee Chloe told me. Planny people been messaging me about da new Pidginmoji fortune cookies, so I figured I bettah go investigate.


Who doesn’t love fortunes, right? I remembah small kid time, da bestest wuz when me and my family went out to eat someplace and dey had fortune cookies, cuz den you not only getting one fortune, but you getting one ono dessert too. (My childrens so funny. Dey love fortune cookies but won’t eat senbei. I tell ‘em, “It’s da same ting but without da fortune.” Dey look at me and tell, “Exactly.”)


Da all-time funniest fortune I seen wuz on top da TV special Frank DeLima’s Hawaiian Christmas Carol where all da customers in da restaurant got da same fortune that said, “You are in a generous mood tonight. Pay twice as much for your dinner.” Crack me up.


Wuz supa easy for track down these Pidgin fortune cookies because dey stay at Hawaiian Chip Co. ($8 or $47 for 4 bags on its website) and Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering ($6.95). Wuz way more harder for track down its creator. Turns out he one busy guy. Pidginmoji founder Ka‘o Carlos is one North Shore boy who stay in Los Angeles running one team for Amazon Prime Video. He tell, “Running Pidginmoji as my pau hana job allows me and my two daughters to stay connected to our homeland.”


SEE ALSO: Da Bestest Potato Chip on Every Hawaiian Island


Braddah Ka‘o wen go develop his Pidginmoji mobile app in 2015. From dea he wen branch out to putting Pidgin phrases on top t-shirts and swimwear. What made him decide for do these Pidgin fortune cookies? “I got the idea when my college friend Jimmy Chan (who runs Hawaiian Chip Co.) gave me da idea,” he tell. “Da buggah is super akamai!”


Pidginmoji Fortune Cookies Lee Tonouchi

Photo: Lee Tonouchi


I dunno about you, but for me, most of da time my fortune cookie fortunes nevah came true. So when I heard about Pidginmoji’s fortune cookies, da thought occurred, maybe, since I’m one local guy, maybe might come more truer for me now because it’s one local fortune!


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Get eight cookies inside da bag. So I going try open up one Pidgin fortune cookie a day for see if da ting come true o’wot. Here’s what wen happen.


Day 1


Fortune: Da big secret fo’ get ahead is fo’ get started!


Too funny. Just da motivation I needed. I wuz kinda procrastinating on doing this piece cuz I wuz having hard time getting in touch with da person behind Pidginmoji. Da email on top da website wuz going unanswered, but after opening my first Pidgin fortune, I decided that Hawai‘i’s one small place, I can probably track down da guy. So I wen go ask my friend Kanani, and she knew somebody who knew da guy. And while I wuz reconnecting with Kanani, I discovered she wuz studying for come one helicopter pilot. She even offered me one free helicopter ride. Score!


Result: Cheehoo true


Day 2


Fortune: Easy, brah! Grab somebody special and head fo’ da country. Going be all good.


Dis one would’ve been mo’ bettah if I got ‘em on one weekend. No can take break in da middle of da day for go holoholo. And I would have to find one friend for bring to da country? No can. Everybody I know stay working. I tink dis one more for da retired kine guys.


Result: Lose money


SEE ALSO: Pidgin History 102: How Hawai‘i’s Unique Language Got Its Start


Day 3


Fortune: Run da day, no let da day run you and fortune will follow.


I nevah open up my fortune till later on in da day, but it wuz exactly da dilemma I wuz facing this morning. I had for Zoom interview Destin Daniel Cretton, da director of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but I found out Disney wuz going be listening in. So I wuz all tinking if I should modify my questions or what? Like if I ask questions about China, would Disney shut down da interview? And what about my questions about Pidgin and Kikaida? Disney wouldn’t even know what we talking about. In da end I just decided for roll with da questions I had. And me and Destin ended up having one super good fun talk story. Aurite!


Result: Cheehoo true


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Day 4


Fortune: Da hard days only going make you stronger. Fortune will follow.


What a junk fortune for get. Accurate, but. So dis da day our washing machine wen ma-ke. Found one new one for one pretty good price, but aftah tax, installation and da fee for take away da old one, da price wen up one noddah $100. It wuz indeed one hard day. I dunno about da fortune will follow part. Maybe da good fortune is I going get nice smelling clothes so my friends not going tell me I’m all hauna.


Result: True (but no cheeh0o)


Day 5


Fortune: It’s mo’ easy fo’ apologize den it is fo’ get permission.


My aunty gave me her produce she wuzn’t going be able for use cuz she hurt her hip so she couldn’t cook. Ho, she gave me choke tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, celery and cabbage. So I figured I would make someting for her. But she kinda particular. Lotta restaurant food she tinks is too salty. So I wuzn’t sure if she wuz going eat ‘em if I made Portuguese bean soup for her. Would that be too salty? In da end I decided for try see what my fortune said. Well, if it says for chance ‘em, I bettah chance ‘em, right? And she ended up loving it!


Result: Cheehoo true


SEE ALSO: Da Untold Story of Hawaiian Santa, a Pidgin Story by Lee A. Tonouchi


Day 6


Fortune: Get up wit’ determination if you like go bed wit’ satisfaction!


Dis fortune wuz kinda too generic for me. I wuz all like no duh. Not applicable to my day today, cuz my every day stay filled with determination and perspiration, brah.


Result: Lose money


Day 7


Fortune: Da bes’ time fo plant kalo wuz 200 days ago. Da second bes’ time is right now.


If we take dis literally, at our house we get planny baby taro sprouting up from da ground. Da baby ones kinda came up by themselves, but. Howevahs, I kinda read dis fortune mo’ metaphorically. Like maybe I should revisit something I should’ve done ages ago. As luck would have it, I had one anthology project I wuz working on that stalled due to lack of funding. An’den today, outta da blue one publisher asked me if I might be interested in letting them publish dis project I had from years ago. Coincidence? Or divine Pidgin fortune cookie intervention?


Result: Cheehoo true


Day 8


Fortune: Mo’ bettah you listen to dis cookie instead of yo’ heart.


I read dis and I wuz all like, HAH?! It’s kinda saying da cookie knows best. And it’s turning out for be eerily true how much it knows. Like how da ting knew wuz my friend’s birfday coming up and I had no idea what for give ‘em? Giving presents to people is always hard. You try tink with your brain, you try give from your heart, but still you dunno if dey going like what you chose. So since da fortune cookie knows best, I figured why not get ‘em these fortune cookies. My friend ended up telling me she loved it. Wuz da perfect gift.


Result: Cheehoo true


SEE ALSO: Pidgin 102: Da Future of Hawaiian Pidgin




She go!


Six outta eight times my Pidgin fortune came true. Das 75% of da time as opposed to hardly any-of-da-time coming true for regular fortune cookies. Each of these 4-ounce bags comes with 8 to 9 Pidgin fortune cookies inside. Da cookies stay on da bigger side and dey all stay crisped to perfection. Da part I nevah catch on wuz da random lucky numbers on da bottom of each fortune. I not into numerology so I wuzn’t sure if dey wuz supposed to mean someting profound or wuz it just someting dumb like da meaning of 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.


Aftah I ate all my cookies I wen go ask da creator for try tell me da secret of his numbers. Braddah Ka‘o laugh and tell, “Da numbers mean you should call your cousin in da mainland and have dem put da numbers down for da lottery—you lucky buggah!”


So now I stay wondering if I should I call up my cousin Jon or my cousin Dave? Ah, why not both, yeah. Get mo’ chance., @pidginmoji