Stop Throwing Out Leftover Chinese Food And Add It To Your Eggs

Chinese takeout joints are such fascinating places, no matter where they are. By catering to local flavors and tastes, the delicious customary dishes from China's eight culinary regions are transformed into unique fusion meals. But no matter how much (or how little) food you order, you always end up with leftovers. What remains is often forgotten and eventually thrown out, which is a big mistake. After all, just about all of us want to make the most of our food and avoid wasting it. Thankfully, there's a great way to take care of the matter. The only things you need beside those leftovers are some eggs. 

This approach helps combat food waste and honors the resourcefulness of traditional Chinese cuisine. So, stretching those leftovers with eggs makes sense. The best part is that one Chinese-American dish works perfectly with the concept and makes an excellent template for you to practice with: egg foo young.

Why egg foo young is ideal for leftovers

Egg foo young is a Cantonese meal Chinese immigrants brought to California during the Gold Rush in the mid to late-1800s. Those who created the dish incorporated local ingredients. However, according to Chef Simone Tong, that's nothing new. Speaking to Epicurious, she said that "In China, they use whatever they can find in their village. When I was growing up, we just went to the wet market and you just bought whatever they provided — bok choy, garlic chives, celtuce leaves." In a similar fashion, egg foo young is a great way to get the most out of your leftover Chinese food. 

The meal can contain proteins like barbeque pork, tofu, beef, chicken, and shrimp. Moreover, no vegetable is off-limits here. The dish often has onion, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and anything in between. This makes egg foo young ideal for experimentation. And since it's usually finished with gravy, don't discard the sauce left behind in the container.

To make egg foo young, simply whisk some eggs, mix in the leftovers, and pour the mixture into a pan to make what is effectively an omelette. If this doesn't sound quite up your alley, another similar spin on this dish is known as a St. Paul sandwich. 

The St. Paul sandwich is another way to use up leftovers

Despite the name, the St. Paul sandwich is a regional favorite that hails from St. Louis, Missouri. The sandwich typically comes with mayo, lettuce, pickles, onions, tomato, and egg foo young. Not only does it repurpose leftovers, but it also eliminates the mess of an omelette drenched in gravy. Still, leftover condiments can work as dipping sauces here, so they're still worth saving.

While both applications are a great place to start reusing Chinese takeout, don't stop there. This is an excellent opportunity to play with your food and see what you can develop. Maybe that day-old char siu pork will tickle your fancy in a carbonara, for instance. However you use it, this is a nifty shortcut using ready-to-eat components that have already been seasoned and prepared. So, never let last night's mouthwatering dinner go to waste in the fridge again.