Who doesn’t love a good Chinese meal after a long day at work? It’s not just meals.
Chinese food has crossed borders and taken on new interpretations as it enters different geographical locations.
Most of us probably almost instinctively associate Chinese food with rice, noodles, and dim sums.
While they are integral, Chinese cuisine spans across a lot more food varieties.
It’s safe to assume that most of us consume Chinese food (or renditions of it) at least a few times every week.
Be it spring rolls as tea-time snacks, fried rice for lunch, sweet and sour soup as a starter, or noodles as quick fixers for those midnight hunger pangs.
Do you prefer to make your version of Chinese food at home, or do you prefer ordering in?
Either way, Chinese food comes with its own set of ‘edible dates.’
In this article, we shall cover frequently asked questions, such as how long does Chinese food last?
Or how do we know if our batch of Chinese food has gone bad?
How Long Does Chinese Food Last? Does Chinese Food Go Bad?
The thing about Chinese food takeouts is that you are likely to get generous portions of it.
This means that if you are living alone, you are sure to have leftovers.
And that’s okay because you can eat these leftovers later.
It’s just that Chinese food doesn’t have a long shelf life, so you have to consume them as early as possible.
If you leave your leftover Chinese food out at room temperature, it becomes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
Ideally, experts say that leftover food should be allowed to ‘sit out’ for a maximum of two hours. After that, bacteria reproduction takes full-swing.
When you order takeout, the food usually dips below 140 F in temperature on its way to your home.
If the food reaches you lukewarm, you may not even have the estimated two hours of ideal food consumption timestamp to work with.
To get the food to a ‘safe eating temperature,’ heat it to the recommended healthy 165-degree F.
In doing this, you reset the time, so you now have two hours to enjoy your Chinese food.
In the case of leftovers, pack the food properly and refrigerate the containers.
For maximum impact, keep the food portions small when storing them.
This way, they cool faster, which helps the food remain edible.
It is also recommended that you transfer the food from the takeout boxes they came in, into clean containers.
Leftover Chinese food, if refrigerated, can be consumed within the next three or four days.
Reheating noodles or curries are doable. However, reheating leftover rice may not be such a great idea.
Rice from restaurants is cooked and then reheated when you place an order.
That is why you should avoid eating rice if you have to warm it more than once, regardless of how hygienically you store it.
How to Tell if Chinese Food Is Bad? Chinese Food Shelf Life!
You don’t necessarily have to be a food expert to know when your leftover Chinese meal is no longer edible.
Some of the tell-tale signs that indicate you need to throw food out are:
· Meat and Vegetables Are Covered in a Slimy Film
If the meat in your fried rice or noodles appears to be covered in a slimy film, toss the whole thing.
This happens mostly with meats, but it sometimes also affects vegetables in salads.
· There Is Visible Mold
This is a pretty obvious one – if your leftover Chinese food seems to be hosting little spores, it’s time to toss it in the bin.
Be sure to check the underside of the container you used to store the food, too, because sometimes, mold appears on the container instead of the food.
· There is Discoloration
When bacteria makes itself at home in your food, the latter is likely to discolor.
To avoid food poisoning, dispose of leftover food if it shows signs of discoloring.
· It Takes on a Pungent Odor
One sure way of knowing that your Chinese food takeaway is no longer edible is if it develops a rancid and foul smell.
· Its Texture Seems Different
Sometimes, leftover food may not show any visible signs of damage.
But if your leftover noodles feel clumped together or if the chicken curry you ordered seems chewier, you may want to stop eating them.
If refrigerated correctly, Chinese food has a shelf life of up to four days.
You can consume these foods during these days, either after microwaving them or heating them on the gas stove/induction cooktop.
If you are reheating your food in a microwave, take the food out for a bit and stir it properly.
This way, you allow room for your food to heat evenly, which minimizes the presence of bacteria.