Singapore’s food heavens
There’s everything to love about hawker food – fuss-free, and delicious, served quickly and cheaply by seasoned hands.
But what makes them delicious is also their very undoing – especially when we look at their calorie count.
Are we fearful of hawker food now that we’re armed with this newly-gained knowledge? Perhaps more than slightly.
Is that going to stop us from indulging in them? Probably not.
It isn’t commonly throned our national dish for naught – succulent, flavourful chicken with rice rendered in chicken fat to perfection.
Calorie count: 607
Roasted/poached chicken with skin; rice cooked in chicken stock
Never mind the food coma you’ll suffer after a hearty plate of Nasi Briyani – the aromatic dish is laced with spices, savoury with a hint of tanginess. Who could resist?
Calorie count: 877
Indian/Malay mixed fried saffron rice; fried/baked chicken; curry gravy
With all the fatty ingredients it’s cooked in, we’re not even surprised. But we’re going for it anyway.
Calorie count: 745
Rice noodles wok-fried with pork lard and black sweet sauce; bean sprouts, eggs, fishcakes, cockles, Chinese sausage
Nasi Lemak made the list of the 10 healthiest breakfasts around the world, and you can’t blame us for having our doubts (Isn’t that why it made the news in the first place?).
The rice is cooked in rich coconut milk, where more than half the fat is saturated. Also, deep-fried everything.
Calorie count: 657
Coconut rice; fried egg, fried anchovies, fried chicken wing as accompaniment; sambal chilli sauce
Packed with umami flavour, most of the calories come from the sauce: rendered from lard, with a dollop of chilli or tomato sauce for a sweet and sour tang.
Calorie count: 482 (If you get the soup version: 372)
Chinese noodles tossed in sauce; fishballs and minced meat
Nipping down to the hawker centre for a quick lunch, but want a healthy one? Go for mixed rice, they say.
But the calorie count suggests otherwise – for a seemingly comparably simple meal, the calorie count matches that of, say, chicken rice.
Calorie count: 580
Rice with 1 stir-fried meat and 2 vegetables
The simple, old-school broth has just the right balance of sweet and salty, and the noodles, if prepared right, is soft to the bite yet chewy on the inside. Perfect for a rainy afternoon!
Calorie count: 475
Hakka wheat noodles with fish-based soup base; minced meat, mushrooms, egg, fried anchovies as an accompaniment
Seems like a forgivable amount of calories, right?
But trust us, you won’t stop at 5, so that’s a lot more calories piling up!
Calorie count: 185
Skewered and grilled meat served with a thick peanut sauce
Sweet, rich coconut jam smothered on toast is a staple at many breakfast tables, and is a tasty choice for a lunch snack to-go as well.
Calorie count: 400
Toast with Kaya (coconut jam) spread and butter
* Statistics from Health Promotion Board. Calories are calculated based on a typical portion of a 23 cm plate or 16.5 cm bowl.
By Pinky Chng, May 2016 / Updated July 2019 / Updated by Jashleen Kaur, September 2020
cover image: misstamchiak.com
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