Apparently it is not too common among less reputable restaurants to save on expenses by reheating rice. (In one locally reported case, a Chinese restaurant went so far as to scrape off uneaten rice from customer’s plates and store it for reheating.) Monitoring the kitchen while they prepare your dish is out of the question; so is bringing along scientific equipment. Is there any way that a regular consumer might determine the freshness of the rice post hoc?
My asian colleagues whom I often go to lunch with can tell when they’re eating reheated rice. (We no longer go to the Hurry Curry on Sawtelle for just this reason.) Apparently when it’s reheated it gets a distinctive chalky texture that you can recognize fairly easily once you’re familiar with it.
The rice kernels tend to more broken and matted to together.
What prompted me to ask was that I was eating at an Indian restaurant today, and I noticed that there were several clumps of rice sticking together – pretty unusual at quality restaurants, in my experience – but then the rice wasn’t very hot, and might have been sitting for a few minutes too long and thus allowed to clump. I also didn’t notice any broken kernels.
What about reheating rice you’ve cooked at home? Then you’d KNOW what it’s like.
I couldn’t have said that better myself.