Fortune cookies, thought to come from Japan, are commonly included with takeaway orders from Chinese restaurants. Inside are small pieces of paper printed with lucky numbers and fortunes like: “All things are difficult before they are easy.”

Inspired by the cookies and the wisdom they offer guests, Fortune Alley managing director William Kuo named the new fast casual, primarily takeaway, spot on Swanston Street for them, according to senior marketing executive Yvonne Lee. The venue, near Melbourne Central, is run by the same team that also operates Alleyway Kitchen, a three-store fast casual venue that offers Chinese takeaway dishes.

Upon entering the small Fortune Alley shopfront, you’ll see a large jade-coloured counter filled with metal bain-maries trays reminiscent of shopping centre food courts. They’re filled with dishes like Fortune Alley’s best-selling honey-coated chicken, sweet and sour pork, Chinese chilli fried chicken seasoned with Sichuan chilli flakes, and Chinese tomato egg stir-fry.

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Made-to-order dishes including Taiwanese-style braised pork rice and wok-fried Hokkien mee, as well as breakfast options including handmade buns, dim sum, pan-fried dumplings and congee with pork and century eggs, are also on offer. As is homemade soy milk, zongzi with salted egg, and Cantonese dim sum staples like siu mai, char siu bao and prawn toast.

There are also fluffy handmade buns that come fresh from Alleyway’s central kitchen each day, which complement the saucy savoury dishes found on the menu.

Next to the register is a little pass section where you can see chefs in action and, fittingly, a basket filled with Fortune Alley-branded cookies for guests as they check out, all overseen by a large neon fortune cookie.

Lee reveals a second Fortune Alley is set to open right across from Flinders Street Station later this year. The new spot will be led by Malaysian chef Wei Min and will feature Southeast Asian dishes.

Fortune Alley Swanston
319 Swanston Street, Melbourne
0450 558 319

Daily 8am-11pm