How to Keep Chinese Food Warm

If you got takeout, or maybe cooked a meal that the side dishes aren’t ready for, you have a couple of hours that it can stay warm and fresh. After two hours food enters the “danger zone” as bacteria builds up, after which point you would want to reheat it. 

Chinese food can be kept warm in the microwave or oven (without reheating) for up to two hours. Wrapping it in foil is another method to keep it fresh and warm, or using an insulated thermos. You can also reheat it and restore its original taste if you aren’t planning on eating it for more than a couple hours.

Keeping Food Warm in the Microwave

Though the microwave is best known for reheating food, believe it or not, it can just keep your takeout warm for a little while, too. Because the microwave is already insulated, it can do a sufficient job at keeping your food warm. 

The same way you shouldn’t leave food out on the counter for too long, it shouldn’t be left in the microwave for more than a couple of hours. After this point, bacteria has a larger chance to grow. So, if you’re not quite ready to eat your food, simply place it in the microwave and shut the door. The insulation will keep it warm enough for an hour or two. If it ends up colder than you’d like, you can always heat it up for a few seconds.

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Wrapping the Food in Foil

Aluminum foil is a very easy and convenient way to give your food warmth for a short period of time. First, put the food in a sealed container.  Wrap said container thickly in tin foil, making sure there aren’t any holes poking through. After this, wrap it again tightly with one or two towels. 

This is a clever method to keep food warm, as all you need are household items. It is quite functional, too, and will present pleasantly warm food when it’s ready to be eaten.

By using both towels and tin foil, multiple purposes are served. This method will trap in steam from hot food as well as reflecting the heat back to the food. Again, it will only keep food warm for up to two hours but, for the short term, it’s bound to work.

Keeping Food Warm in a Thermos

For small amounts of food, a regular thermos will work. If you have a bigger portion, insulated thermal bags would be of use to you. Typically, thermoses are only made for one serving of food. Either way, check the instructions on the thermos to see how long exactly it can keep your food warm and fresh.

This works best if you transfer the food to the thermos while it is still extremely hot. Secure the lid tightly. For thermoses, you will usually have about four hours to safely consume the food before bacteria has a chance to grow. 

Reheating Chinese Food

If your food has been, or will be, left out for more than a couple hours; you’ll likely want to skip the aforementioned tips. There are many ways to reheat your takeout in a timely manner whilst keeping the original taste and texture as best as possible.

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Reheat Chinese Food With a Pan on the Stove

Of course you can technically reheat food with any appliance that exudes electricity, but it seems the best bet is to use the stove. All you’re going to need is a big pan and a small amount of oil, and the stove on a medium heat setting.

Chinese food will stay good in the fridge for up to four days. Whether you have vegetables, rice, or noodles; this method works great for any and all of them. Reheating each item separately will give you the most consistent end product, but this is much more time consuming. 

Tossing all your leftovers in a pan will get you restored food within a couple of minutes, just be sure you’re keeping a close eye on it. Using a pan on the stove is the ideal method because it gives the heat a chance to disperse evenly. Adding a splash of oil will help get that crispy texture and prevent a messy cleanup. If you please, you can add some soy sauce to rejuvenate the taste even more.

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Final Thoughts

If you have leftovers that you aren’t quite done with, there are some clever ways to keep them warm for a couple hours. Methods to keep food warm certainly work, but only for a couple hours. After three hours or so, food can become a breeding ground for bacteria. So, if your food is going to be sitting out for a while, it is also relatively easy to reheat it within minutes.