Asian cuisine is taking new levels when Chinese pop-up restaurants spread all across the United States and all parts of the world. The food is known for its perfect fusion of sweet-sour-salty using Asian products. If you’ve tried eating from a Chinese restaurant by chance, you may encounter food containers made locally by Asian manufacturers.
A closer look will give you glyphs different from the ordinary English text, which makes you wonder if these Chinese food containers are still suitable to be placed inside a microwave. Good thing, food features and recycling number are considered international standards—which means, even Asian restaurants are complying with this standard.
Can I Reheat Chinese Takeaway in the Microwave?
Admit it. We want to reduce the extra effort in food preparation. Good thing, you can consider reheating your takeout or leftovers for a quick meal. Placing it inside a pan is counter-productive since you’ll be having more kitchen equipment to clean with. Using a microwave for quick reheating purposes will do the trick. Still, after you’ve looked at the Chinese food container, you’ve noticed that it is written in their local language.
Don’t be intimidated. While these Asian food containers are made to accommodate their local consumers, the food identification and recycling code are international, which means all plastic manufacturers worldwide must indicate their plastic features and recycling number.
Identifying these labels and their functions will give you a lot of benefits. Aside from additional kitchen knowledge, you will also prevent yourself from placing food containers that are not suitable for specific kitchen equipment. In this case, not all plastic containers can be placed inside the microwave.
The first way to know if you can reheat your Chinese takeaway in the microwave is by checking its additional food-safe features. Food-safe containers are required to put different icons and labels for several reasons. For the consumers, it will give an idea of what specific materials are used for your packaging. For the recyclers, this makes the sorting process a lot easier since it is pre-indicated.
What is the food-grade icon that indicated is your plastic container is microwave-safe?
- Two to three squiggly lines indicate that the food is safe for microwave use. Another modification for this international icon is an actual microwave with 2-3 squiggly lines.
- If there are no icons available, you can check the written text on the bottom of the plastic container. If there is an embossed “Microwave Safe” or “For Microwave Use,” that is an indicator that you can use your Chinese takeaway container inside your heater.
- On the other hand, if the squiggly lines are enclosed on a circle with a slash (or Ø), it means that you cannot use them inside the microwave. Doing so will cause the plastic to melt inside the microwave.
Can I Put ANY Cardboard Takeout Box in the Microwave?
If you purchase pizza or Chinese food for takeout, you might notice that it is packed and delivered inside cardboard containers. Cardboard containers are generally made with paper, which means that you can safely place them inside the container. However, several cardboards have intricate designs from the packaging, which can affect the safety feature of your cookware.
Is it safe to place your cardboard inside the microwave? The answer could be either yes or no. A pure cardboard takeout box can be placed inside the microwave without damaging the container and the oven itself. Some types of cardboard are not recommended for microwave settings.
If your cardboard contains glue, ink, metal, wax, and plastic—it cannot be placed inside the microwave oven. The following materials can react into the microwave’s heat source, causing the paper to burn exponentially. To prevent your cardboard packs from burning, here are some things you might consider:
- Make sure that your cardboard container has contents before placing it inside the microwave. Leaving the cardboard on its own will create explosions once heated at a high temperature. The food prevents the microwave’s heat from thoroughly heating the cardboard.
- Check if the cardboard has an attached metal part. If there so, remove it immediately before placing it inside the microwave. Metal sparks inside the appliance, which later on damaging your microwave.
- Cardboard that is coated in wax or plastic coating is not safe for microwave use. It will emit toxic fumes that will be mixed inside the cookware, or it will melt partially.
Once you’ve ensured these reminders, you are now confident to place any cardboard source inside the microwave. Although the container is microwave-safe, it has to be checked from time to time to prevent the food from leaving a mess in your kitchen.
What Is the Best Way to Heat Up Leftover Chinese Food?
Leftover Chinese food tastes better once it is heated. However, reheating any food can be strenuous, especially if you’ll be doing it through pan and heat. Good thing, the microwave oven can make the heating time faster and more convenient.
Heating your food can be done using these methods
- Stovetop method: You will allow the food to ‘wilt’ inside a heated wok or pan glazed with oil in this technique. To do so, place your cookware in moderate heat before drizzling your cookware with some oil. When smokes start to appear, toss your leftovers. You may add other condiments and fresh ingredients like soy sauce, sesame seeds, onion leeks, and garlic to elevate its flavor. This method will take 5-8 minutes.
- Microwave method: For people that are rushing, this method is highly recommended. Making sure that you are using the right cookware is the key to reheating your leftovers. To keep the rice and other food moist, you can place a small cup of water inside the microwave. You can set your food for about 45 to 90 seconds, which is way too shorter than the stovetop method.