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The Difference Between Dine in and Take out

Where Did That Came From?

Is it just me, or have you noticed too that the take out food from a Chinese restaurant that you’ve dined in before just doesn’t taste as good when you take it out as if you dined in?

Now I’m not referring to a typical take-out Chinese restaurant.  I’m talking about take out from a “real” Chinese restaurant.  The kind that you’d take your family, or a date to.  Not the kind that you’d be sitting with, umm… hmm… next to… ahem, let’s just say not the type of place you wouldn’t take your family or a date to.

So, why is this the case?  I think it’s a combination of a few things.  One is the freshness.  Nothing is going to taste quite as good as fresh out of the wok (or whatever cooking vessel or method is used).

Secondly I think they take extra care in preparing something that other patrons will see as well.  I don’t know what that “secret” is, or what the difference is.  But, I’m sure they want to tempt the palate of other diners so that they will be enticed to come back again and try that dish that they just got a whiff of.  Heck, if I was a restaurateur, I would do the same thing!

chinese-takeout-boxpicture of chinese food18Thirdly, it could be the packaging that the take out food comes in.  Whether it be the traditional cardboard box (or whatever material those boxes are made of), the plastic, or the aluminum containers, I venture to say that it causes some kind of reaction with the food that alters it’s taste just a little bit.  (See #1 reason above as well).

Fourthly, they get tipped on diners and not the take out peeps.  I’d make sure that extra attention to detail was put in to my offerings as well if I knew there was a tip on the line at the end of the meal.  So, it could be an extra garnishing, or a extra attention to presentation.  That all goes in to the entire dining experience as well and could affect ones perception of taste.

Lastly, I think you do get more meat (or chicken, pork, seafood, whatever) in your portions when you dine in versus take out.

What are your thoughts?  Am I imagining this?  Does it apply to other cuisines?  Please share your thoughts by posting a comment.

Submitted for your consumption,

–Mee Magnum (“Chop!  Chop!”)

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