Back in high school, I had a bizarre habit of buying weird-smelling air fresheners for the car, specifically those that hang on the rearview mirror.
Opting for scents that range from bacon to pancakes to new car smell, I’d hang a newly purchased amulet on my mirror and then never remove it. After a few years, the amalgamation of all the old scents had blended together to create what I can only describe as a smell unique to my own vehicle, but a smell that also resembled bad Chinese food — I’m talking General Tsao’s chicken, beef and broccoli, and the quintessential American-Chinese delicacy of “happy family.”
So, when I heard there was a candle created specifically to evoke the fragrance of a strip-mall Chinese buffet, I was all in. Perhaps it was a hankering to recapture my youth, perhaps it was a bit of nostalgia, and perhaps, further still, it was a desire to own something so ridiculously, patently absurd, that it would serve as a conversation piece for the rare moments when I actually have people to my home.
Either way, the fact is, there exists a candle that smells like Chinese food and you should own one.
The Takeout Candle from Cool Material is made from 100-percent soy, burns for over 80 hours, and offers notes of soy (sauce, that is), lemongrass, ginger, and other indescribable scents that, when combined, bring you that distinct Chinese takeout smell. What’s better, the candle is also made in America (just like fortune cookies). So, light it up and pretend you’re a New Yorker living above a Chinese buffet or simply set it out on your coffee table and admire the origami, paper carton design.
At $20, the Takeout Candle is a little pricey for something you’re probably not going to use very often, but again, it burns for a total of 80 hours. When you do the math, that comes out to a cost of 25 cents an hour — pretty cheap for a little light and a lot of smell.
We know a takeout-scented candle isn’t for everyone, so if the smell of lo-mein in the morning doesn’t do it for you, check out this awesome unscented candle created to mimic the eruption of Mount St. Helens.