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In India, where I hail from, almost everything is served hot. When I had visited Canada, it took a person a while to understand when I told her, 'Please heat it.' (I know it was a blunder! :P )

I had to tell her that because she gave me a patty (or for that sake anything that is eaten either hot or at room temperature) that was of a room temperature.

My question is what is the commonest way to tell someone to 'heat' food so that an American or a Brit can understand it without any hassle. A few I can guess...

Please heat it (that failed miserably!)
Can I get it hot? (ambiguous)
Please serve hot (this seems ordering and harsh!)

That's it!

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Some common ways to ask this, trying to be a bit more polite,

Could you heat it up?

I think I'd prefer this dish served hot.

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    Okay..so "could you heat it up?" works! Fine! – Maulik V Apr 12 '18 at 7:14
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(I'm not sure if what I'm about to say is blindingly obvious but you didn't mention it in your question.)

The Canadian probably misunderstood "heat" with "eat", so it sounded like you were telling them to...

Please eat it

There's nothing wrong with saying "Can you please heat it?", but @The Photon's suggestion, “heat it up”, is much better and unequivocal.

However, if I were a guest at someone's house, I would generally refrain from asking my host to warm something up. It can come across as being rather bad-mannered as though I were a customer in a restaurant.

Instead with a very close friend or relative, at an informal meal, I might say

It's {the patty} gone slightly cold, it's a pity because I can tell it's delicious. Could I microwave it for a bit?

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If your friend is the proud owner of one of those microwave ovens that he or she might still have in their kitchen, you could ask them to get your food warmed up for you with this expression:

Could you nuke it for me please? I like to eat my food hot.

Nuke is just slang for heating food up in a microwave oven.

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    wow +1 for that slang. I didn' know that! – Maulik V Apr 13 '18 at 4:28
  • "he or she might have in their kitchen"? – Chaim Apr 13 '18 at 16:43
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In Eastern Ontario/Quebec, servers will typically ask you if you want things "warmed up". So, I would use "warm" instead of "heat":

Could you please warm it up a bit (more)?

Would you mind warming it up a bit for me?

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I like the options that @ThePhoton gave. Here are a few more:

Would you mind heating it up for me?

Can I get it warmed up please?

Can I get it toasted? (only if you specifically want it toasted)

  • I might even try something like, “Is there any way I could get this heated up?” If the staff is not used to this request, they might be confused by the question, unsure of how hot the customer wants it, and, depending on the foot, maybe even unsure of how to go about accommodating the request. – J.R. Apr 12 '18 at 8:49
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I do not know if this is an Indian (Many Indians I know that learn English, tend to come across your problem that you have stated) or a personal mishap, but in English and it's sister languages you usuallymake your request into a polite question or request. say for example:

Could You (Please) Heat This(Up)?

(The please is something I would definitley consider adding in though you don't have to.

I usually include the "Up" becauses all the other native english speakers I know say it like this.)

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