So Apparently, We’ve Been Using Chinese Takeout Boxes All Wrong [VIDEO]

In the case of the 1st world’s most epically disproportionate problems, we have just learned that our use of Chinese food takeout boxes is horribly inefficient.

Here’s how we found out. Back in August of 2012, we came across the startling discovery that we’ve been using ketchup cups incorrectly as well. Months after posting a video on the matter and explaining that the condiment cups seemingly unfolded to allow for maximum dunk square-footage, a comment came in close to three weeks ago explaining that Chinese take-away containers follow a similar concept — apparently they unfold into a plate. No more getting the sides of your hands greasy digging deep into a takeout box, no more pouring food into unnecessary communal plates, just fold the takeout box’ sides down and get right to grubbin’.


Thanks to YouTube user Benjamin Shaw for pointing that out, we had to investigate for ourselves:



Sure enough Mr. Shaw was correct.

We tried boxes with metal hooks, and they work even better than the boxes that were  held together with some sort of adhesive. Either way, the box seemingly unfolds, lays out into a plate, and if you don’t finish your food in one sitting, it folds right back up and tucks into itself, ready to store back in the fridge for your future face-stuffing.


Chinese food game: changed. 

Elie is a product of Orange County, CA. In early 2012, his dentist diagnosed him with 8 different cavities, three of which on the same tooth, as a result of his 23-year Sour Patch Kid addiction.

  • Anonymous

    I like this. Didn’t think about it until now. Those sneaky Chinamen.

    • Chloe Riviera

      Actually, this is an American invention. You will never find the “Chinese takeout box” in Asia because it doesn’t exist there.

  • Michael ZenFerret

    Could’ve done without the first 30 seconds of infomercial level stupidity. And watching the dude stuff his face at the end has put me off my feedbag. Unfunny people shouldn’t try to produce funny videos. This could’ve been trimmed down to a 5 second animated GIF if it wasn’t for the attention whores.

    • Katie

      I thought it was funny and enjoyed the whole video.

    • artlessnyc

      Go suck a hardboiled egg and choke


    While it’s possible this is the intent, the more likely explanation is simply that cardboard can only be made as a flat sheet, and then folded into a box. The fact that they use adhesive that tears the cardboard on unfolding means they probably did not intend this use.

    • Anonymous

      Totally with you, but some boxes with metal handles don’t have adhesive and end up unfolding quite seamlessly once the handle is removed. May not be intended in the original design, but significant enough of an offshoot to bring up with everyone (=

      • Nick Fotopoulos

        Those metal handles are not easy to remove when the container is full of food. Still it’s an excellent way to reuse/re-purpose something. I used to do this when I lived in NYC and would eat Chinese takeout on the go. If your sitting and put the contain between your legs it folds up around the sides making it more like a bowl and helps keep the contents from spilling.

        • Tracey C

          Sure it is. Just keep it closed and you can bend them a bit and then push them away from the cardboard.

  • Doobie Brothers

    Nope, not gonna happen. The box is meant to contain the leftovers, unless you’re a pig and eat the entire contents in one sitting, like the glutton in the video. BTW, for some constructive feedback, the video was stoopid.

    • Brandon Gunnoe

      You must be one of those who don’t read articles in their entirety before posting their view(s).
      In bold typeface at the end:
      “it folds right back up and tucks into itself, ready to store back in the fridge for your future face-stuffing.”

      • Jay Marcase

        LOL @ Kenny Login responding to Doobie Brothers…that’s just too much.

    • Derpsley Herpington

      Sorry tiny puny human who cannot consume calories.

      When I workout each day I need to eat enough food to keep me going.

      Your comment shows you do not workout and have no idea how to properly order enough for just one sitting. Instead of ordering too much, like a glutton would do.

      • DaveHimslef

        Working out is not a badge of honor. It is an embarrassing necessity for someone whose life fails to provide them with healthy expenditure of energy. I think its sad that YOU need to work out to be healthy.

        • Jenna Beth Schwartz

          Do you even biology? As you get older your body tends to downgrade all of that. You’ll lose chemicals and gain body mass because you are past the age of typical fertilization and working, and your body knows it’s time to settle down.

          • Anonymous


      • Anonymous

        Your comment shows that you do not work out. Becuase you wouldn’t shoven that much crap into your body if you do.
        Please..don’t embarrass yourself by trying to pretend to be some great bodybuilder, little boy.

        • Jenna Beth Schwartz

          Okay I seriously have to stop you here. Do you have ANY idea what the concept of daily workout is? These kinds of people have to eat a LOT of calories just to keep muscle on their bodies. And for your information, our bodies were made to “work out” every day – we don’t do it as much anymore with the inventions of technology and machinery that require us to move a lot less than in previous years.

          Some people who work out daily eat as many as 9,000 calories a day without weight gain. And this isn’t even with any rigorous training exercise.

    • buttsnacher

      I had to look up what Chinese takeout is. You’re all gluttons for even being aware of it.

    • Anonymous

      Because the amount in one container is far too big a serving, no matter what it is, how full it is, or who you are!


  • Brian S.

    You could at least link to the reddit posts that have been the inspiration for a lot of these articles. I understand some of your readers would never have seen the posts otherwise but give credit where credit is due.

    • Anonymous

      maybe the redditor read the comment from the video foodbeast posted and then decided to try it out and say, “look what i discovered!!!” for the karma. all of the internet is essentially recycled content from anonymous people.

      it’s the internet. on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.
      no one.

  • licoricepirate

    why are the commenters here so mean??? chill out!!!

  • Anonymous

    This is so stupid. You can say this about tinfoil. This wasn’t how it was designed. Thats like saying they give you the paper placemat on trays FOR dumping your fries on. And if you don’t eat perfectly cleany putting it back together is going to be a mess. Try it with rice or a similarly messy or saucy dish and see how Practical it is.

  • Michael A. Miller

    It was totally worth it to waste all that food to illustrate how to fashion a plate that won’t hold up very well unless you’re a really fast eater.

  • Moriah Carter


  • Moriah Carter


    • Anonymous

      Fold it back up, the box has a lid that will hold everything together (=

  • Jonathan Berman

    Has nobody heard of bowls?

  • Jonathan Berman

    Has nobody heard of bowls?

    • Anonymous

      Wait, WHAT?!

  • Mary W. Lukens Goodson

    IF your dish doesn’t have a lot of sauce on it, this MIGHT work. And now I want Lo Mein for dinner. =)

  • Anonymous

    Oh America – you so dumb.

  • DaveHimslef

    This was worthy of the last photo. Thats all.

  • Jeff Townes

    what exactly are you eating in the video?

  • Anonymous

    You know you are a crappy blog when you keep this series of “you are doing X wrong” crap based on nothing but ione some idiot THINKS is how it should be done.

  • Anthony Konarski

    we don’t get those containers at chinese takeaways in the uk, we get plastic tubs or foil trays with card lids. i’ve only ever seen these containers in films/tv shows from the US. :(

    • Brian Tinker

      It’s for your own safety. You wouldn’t believe the number of deaths by pointy-Chinese-takeout-box per capita in the US.

  • Nerds Are Faggots

    blog post was authored by a homosexual

  • Fernando Decillis

    but if I do that, I won’t be able to sit back on the couch, one hand holding the box, and the other holding the sticks.. I would have to eat on a table.

  • Anonniemuss

    Christ I hate clicking through to an unfamiliar new site and discovering that it’s written in 20-something-ese. Reference to 1st world problems, check; use of the word “epic”, check; site design that looks like every other crap food site that already exists, check. Why bother with this completely redundant enterprise?

    • Anonymous

      Christ I hate people who whine like a little bi*ch about “first world problems” becuase he can’t think for himself and that is the buzz word of 2012-2013.

      • Jaochoui

        And how about people who hate people who whine? And people who hate people who hate people who whine? And.. and… never mind.

  • pishabh

    Deeply disturbing

  • Yu Dumash

    This is the “WRONG” way to use the box – it is NOT intended to be opened flat like a plate! You only need to open one side (to unhinge the metal handle, pull so that the hook stays inside the flaps and doesn’t cut you) then hold the box with one hand, undo and open the unhinged flaps – now you have a “bowl” to eat out of (and sit on the couch as one commentator, below, likes to do). And if there are leftovers, you can still close the box up (and reinsert wire handle if you want to but you don’t need to).

  • Linda Lovelush

    Just dump it onto a paper plate, for crying out loud. Too much trouble to unfold, then fold back up if you have leftovers (some of us don’t eat the whole portion in one sitting). Besides, eating out of the box with chopsticks is half the fun.

  • Nekesha Boyd

    Wow. Never knew.

  • K Radwill

    Great post! food boxes can be used any way you want to. Unfolding them like you did in your post works, and keeping them together as a bowl also is just as good. You can even use them to store other things!

  • Monica Ricci, CPO®

    Well gee it would have been nice of Mr. Chinese Restaurant Owner to tell the silly round-eye this when I ordered takeout eh? Good tip!

  • Lucy

    Christ, I hate it when somebody doesn’t like a blog and instead of, oh, I don’t know, IGNORING IT, they feel a need to bash and badmouth. What an epic bunch of first world problems THEY must have.

    • Jaochoui

      Could have done the same and ignored those people/comments. ;)

  • Mittageisen

    The way the food looks on the unfolded box makes me want to vomit. Actually I would rather vomit than eat food off an unfolded cardboard box.

    • Anthony Gerard DiNardo

      Why? I mean, what on earth makes an unfolded cardboard box so much worse than a plate?. Why is it fine for carrying your food in, but consuming your food off of it is vomit inducing? That doesn’t make any sense. I mean, why waste water cleaning a plate if you don’t have to?

      • artlessnyc

        He has much deeper problems. Poor chap

  • Peter Alfred

    It’s truly a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Take away Boxes

  • Cabrón

    That must’ve been the driest chines food on the planet, or else they poured out all the juice/sauce before shooting the video. Great concept though, but I think I’ll keep mine folded up and eat out of the container, since I’m apparently not as inept as the doof in the video. I’d rather do that than be wiping up sauce from the countertop…provided I have a countertop and something to wipe with.

  • beelzebuddha

    Mind = blown.

  • Andreas Norman

    only white people would eat noodles or rice from a plate using chop sticks. It’s counterproductive.

  • Edcedc8

    so, the only way I can think of to eat from a box like that is the right way.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t fold back up because the paper is glued together.

  • Nick B

    This is a fairly recent internet “urban legend” trying to establish itself, but is not true. The Chinese “takeout” box was originally called (and invented as) an Oyster Pail in 1894 here in the U.S. Oysters at that time were plentiful and cheap and these boxes were made specifically for that purpose. Then after World War II, Chinese food became popular in the U.S. and the Oyster Pail was logically the easiest thing to use for take out. Simple as that. Never was specifically made to “unfold completely” but you certainly are free to do so if you want to I guess…

  • Christine Mattson Carlson

    Y u no tell me??

  • Jay Marcase

    These boxes were never meant to be used as a plate. The reason why these and many other boxes can be flattened is simply to save space.

  • S A Barton

    That’s a very flat plate. Woe betide the person who does this with a saucy dish.

  • Jol r.m

    I was thoroughly entertained reading the off topic posts as well as the whiny complaining posts of anal people who take everything to seriously. RELAX PEOPLE! Don’t Eat it if you don’t want to, or if you do then eat it any way you want, simple as that.

  • Ness

    Boxes can unfold- what a concept! :^)

  • Anonymous

    Meh, not buyin the ‘trendy new method’ (and the video has apparently the dumbest man in existence trying to eat). It will be messy for many Chinese dishes.

  • Golden Bear

    Dude! This will totally help me since I stab myself in the face all the time after trying to budge my chinese food out of the box too.

  • Shinonda

    Chop sticks are designed to be used when eating from bowls, not plates.

  • Andrew Bowers

    Do your homework; search for “Oyster Pail”.

  • Bill Brennan

    I can honestly say I never thought of this, but who can’t transfer their Chinese food to a plate without making a mess? It’s never been an issue for me. LOL. Also, most Chinese food is very wet and saucy. I wouldn’t try this with my beef and mushrooms.

  • Tracey C

    Duh :)