Can You Eat Chinese Takeaway Food That Was Left Out Overnight?

Getting Chinese takeout is a common tradition for a comfortable evening at home or a hectic day when you require a fast dinner on the go. Typically, it arrives in generous servings, so there’s a high probability that you’ll have some remaining for the following day.

However, there are instances where we may doze off on the sofa after consuming a portion of our Chinese takeaway food, or neglect to refrigerate the remaining food and subsequently question whether it is still safe to eat the following day.

It is not safe to consume Chinese takeaway food that has been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours after it has cooled down below 140 degrees Fahrenheit, as this can cause the growth of bacteria and lead to food poisoning. To store leftovers safely, refrigerate them and reheat them using a microwave or stovetop when you are ready to eat.

After learning the improper ways of storing leftover Chinese food, it is important to understand the proper methods of storing and reheating it to maximize its use and avoid any unnecessary food waste.

Will You Get Sick From Eating Food Left Out Overnight?

Various elements can lead to the proliferation of bacteria in food, resulting in illnesses. It is not advisable to consume food that has been kept at room temperature for a prolonged duration, particularly if it comprises meat or fish.

After food has decreased in temperature from its completely cooked state (typically about 165 F) to any point between 140 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it generates a condition where bacteria can multiply every twenty minutes, which is referred to as the “danger zone” for food.

Chinese takeout food that contains rice and fish is the most susceptible to harmful bacteria.

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Fish may produce a harmful substance known as histamine, which is generated when the fish meat is not kept at appropriate temperatures, and this could lead to severe foodborne illness.

Bacillus cereus is a type of bacteria that thrives on rice and can grow quickly, even surviving reheating; therefore, any food containing rice that has been left at room temperature for over two hours should be thrown away.

How Can You Tell If Food Left Out Has Gone Bad?

If your Chinese takeaway food has been left out for more than two hours, but you don’t want to waste it, here are some ways to determine if your leftovers have spoiled.

If you notice any mold in your leftovers, it is best to discard them right away and avoid consuming the food, even if the mold is limited to a specific area.

Discoloration in your leftovers or individual ingredients may indicate that the food has spoiled.

If there is any change in the smell of leftover food that was not there when it was fresh, it should not be consumed as a bad odor can be a clear indication of spoiled food even if it appears visually fine.

When it comes to food, particularly if it has been left out at room temperature for a few hours, it is advisable to adopt a cautious approach of “better safe than sorry.”

It is a fact that some food may have enough bacteria to cause severe and unpleasant symptoms even if there are no visible indications of spoilage.

How Long Can Chinese Takeaway Be Left In the Fridge?

Chinese takeaway food can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days if it is refrigerated within two hours of being cooked. Another option is to freeze the leftovers for a maximum of two months.

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How To Store Leftover Chinese Food

It is acceptable to store your leftover Chinese food in the original takeout container for overnight refrigeration if you intend to consume it the following day.

Nevertheless, if you intend to preserve it for an extended period, it may be advisable to transfer the Chinese takeaway food into a sealed container or Tupperware.

Chinese food’s trademark cardboard containers provide ample air circulation, creating a conducive environment for bacteria to thrive.

It is important to consume your leftovers within five days to prevent bacterial growth that may not be visible.

How To Reheat Leftover Chinese Food

Although microwaving is the most convenient method to reheat Chinese food, it may not be the most flavorful option; however, reheating rice in the microwave is likely to yield results that are closest to freshly steamed rice.

If you want to prevent your rice from drying out when reheating it, you can either put a cup of water in the microwave with the rice or add a few drops of water directly into the rice.

If you have leftover stir fry dishes or meat and fish from Chinese takeaway food, the most effective method to reheat them is by using a stovetop. To do this, heat some oil in a wok or large pan and add your leftovers, then heat on medium-high until they are fully warmed through and appear freshly cooked.

What To Do If You Ate Chinese Food Left Out Overnight

My suggestion would be to dispose of any food that has rice and was left out, regardless of its appearance, as there is a possibility of harmful bacteria growth in the rice.

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If you accidentally left a vegetable stir fry out of the fridge, it may be safer to eat compared to meat, fish, or rice depending on the room temperature.

If the temperature in the room where you left your Chinese takeaway food is consistently at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and you live in a cold climate, there is less reason to be concerned. However, if your home is hot and humid, even leaving out vegetables can be risky.

It is advisable to refer to the indicators that determine if food has spoiled, and in case of uncertainty, it is better to discard the food to prevent any unwarranted hazards.

If you want to avoid discarding food, it is advisable to store your leftovers in their original containers in the refrigerator. Although refrigeration can extend the life of food for a few days, it is highly recommended that any food left at room temperature for over two hours should be discarded.

Can You Eat Chinese Takeaway Cold the Next Day?

Leftover dishes can be enjoyed both hot and cold, but the question remains whether the temperature affects their safety.

As long as the leftovers have been stored correctly before consumption, the temperature at which you eat them is irrelevant, and you can choose to consume them cold or reheat them based on your preference.

Consuming Chinese takeaway food that has been left out overnight can result in severe side effects, and therefore, it is not recommended to eat such food.

You can also check this video about “Can You Eat Chinese Takeaway Food That Was Left Out Overnight?”

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