Five restaurant leftovers you should not eat the next day

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So you were at a restaurant and you ordered way too much food -- or just the right amount if you wanted a "fat human" box or two to take home. But in the cold gray light of dawn, last night's chicken à la awesome could turn into today's irritable fowl syndrome. There are certain dishes that work well as day-after dining, and others that will not survive the overnight Styrofoam containment. General rule: eggrolls, yes, cream cheese wontons, no; enchiladas, yes, tacos, no. As for pizza -- it doesn't matter because most folks will eat leftover pizza off the carpet, down crusts re-hydrated with beer, and not care about the gastrointestinal consequences.

Here are five restaurant leftovers that you definitely should not eat the next day. Ranch dressing can only mask so much.

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Kung Pao isn't lovelier the second time around.
5. Chinese food.

Chinese food stands up to the test of time about as well as Kevin Sorbo's career. No matter what dim sum shop or Imperial-Hunan-Golden-Palace-of-Eel location the dishes came from, leftover fried rice gets crunchy, lo mein noodles become ratty, and Kung Pao chicken chunks end up with the consistency of fun-sized Snickers bars with extra peanuts. It's a myth that soy sauce kills anything -- except your blood pressure, anyway. So it's a damn good thing that after a Chinese meal you're hungry an hour later, because any longer in the fridge and those leftovers will give "kill the dragon" a whole new meaning.

4. Cheeseburgers.

Bar food usually doesn't make for pristine leftovers, and cheeseburgers degrade faster than the time it takes to make them in the first place. The beef turns fifty shades of gray, the buns deflate and absorb mayo like slimy sponges, the lettuce wilts, the tomatoes drip, and the fries go limp faster than George Takei at a Miss America pageant.

3. Chicken Parmesan.

Pasta is fantastic the next day. Chicken Parmesan is not, unless you adore the flavor of fryer grease the second time around -- this time without the benefit of heat. The breading gets gummy, the cheese gets implacably dry, the meat becomes stringy, and there is kind of bread that will turn this stuff into an edible sandwich.


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3 comments
Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

I am actually in agreement with most of these "recommendations".  I have had poor luck with leftover Chinese - the abundance of oil does not refrigerate well and reheats even worse but it could be edible I suppose - sushi NO way.  I'd like to die at night just not tonight.  Pizza and a great piece of steak (hello Morton's) are about the only leftovers I'll touch.

BrianMartinez
BrianMartinez

I would agree that leftover Chinese food from one of those "buck-a-scoop" places should not be eaten the next day...probably because it was already a day old when it was served.

 

Aside from that, though, you're full of chop suey.  Leftover Chinese makes for an awesome lunch the next day.

monopod
monopod

How dare you impugn cold leftover Chinese food?  There is nothing better than cold General Tso's or lo mein eaten straight out of the box while standing in front of an open fridge.  Nothing.

 

Rest of the list is pretty spot-on, though.

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