Lifestyle & Hobbies

Here’s how to continue eating your favourite hawker dishes guilt-free

Singapore hawker foods

Eating is a way of life. Or rather, should I say eating well is a way of life? Either way, I think it is safe to say that many Singaporeans live to eat. I’m part of the gang. Well, blaming no one here with the range of food options in Singapore. From local to international delights, a glutton like me is truly satisfied with this sunny island. What about you?

But to be honest, I sometimes fall into the guilt cycle of wanting to eat my favourite hawker foods but yet worried about the weight I’m putting on.

That’s why we went on a search for ways to lower some calories so we can all continue eating our favourite hawker dishes guilt-free. Or at least, attempt to lessen the times we feel bad about it. Ready to go on this learning journey with us? Let’s roll with some of the popular foods and tips!

#1: WONTON MEE (434 CALORIES)
wonton mee

Image Credits: straitstimes.com

Wonton mee is love. Who can say no to flavourful roasted char siew and silky smooth wantons? We know we can’t. That’s why we will continue to slurp our noodles but along with some tips to note.

As you walk through the stalls, see if you can spot one with a Healthier Oil decal. When you’ve decided to order, get the soup version, politely ask for more vegetables, and request for steamed wontons instead of fried ones.

Here’s the explanation. Firstly, the soup version means you will do away with the sauce that comes with the dry wanton mee. Seasonings add to the calories you’re consuming so it’s better to avoid them. Secondly, adding vegetables should be self-explanatory. Greens are good for health! Thirdly, we all know that compared to the steamed method of cooking, deep-fried foods (though extremely tasty) are high in calories and fats.

TL;DR

  • Spot a stall with a Healthier Oil decal
  • Get the soup wanton mee instead of the dry version
  • Politely ask for more vegetables
  • Request for steamed wontons rather than fried ones
#2: YONG TAU FOO WITH RICE (517 CALORIES)
yong tau foo

Image Credits: singhealth.com.sg

Do you like your yong tau foo dry or with soup? I’m a soup lover so I would opt for the soup version over dry and I’m glad I’m on the right track.

Using what we’ve learned for wanton mee, for the dry version, your beloved hawker will usually drizzle generous portions of sauce. Remember what we mentioned earlier? Sauces are generally high in calories and salt content so make the right choice. Next up, opt for clear soup over laksa or curry gravy and say no to deep-frying your items.

And if you need an explanation, here it is. We’ve already made our point previously on the sauces and deep-fried foods so we shall skip that. For laksa or curry gravy, just think of what goes in during the cooking process – ingredients like coconut milk. Don’t get me wrong. I adore the taste of coconut milk in my laksa or curry gravy. But do you know that 100g of coconut milk has about 230 calories? Eliminate unwanted calories if you want to eat healthier.

TL;DR

  • Go for the yong tau foo soup
  • Opt for clear soup over laksa or curry gravy
  • Say no to deep-frying your items
#3: ROJAK (518 CALORIES)
rojak

Image Credits: visitsingapore.com

When was the last time you had rojak? My mum used to tell me not to eat too much rojak because of the amount of palm sugar and sweet dressings this ‘mixed salad’ has. Guess what? She’s right, but only to a certain extent.

That’s because you can make certain tweaks to lower the calorie count. Can you guess one of the most sinful ingredients used to make our favourite rojak? Apart from sugar and sauce, it’s you tiao. Some of you might know this as fried dough fritters. In replacement of that, ask for more fruits and vegetables. Also, ask for less sweet sauce, please.

Feeling unjustified? Listen to us. Firstly, you need to bid goodbye to that stick of shiny-looking deep-fried you tiao because one stick of you tiao has 285 calories. Secondly, everyone needs to eat at least two servings of fruits and vegetables so adding more is a given. Thirdly, sweet sauce is high in sugar content. To put it into context, 100g of sugar is equivalent to 387 calories.

TL;DR

  • Give up your you tiao (fried dough fritters)
  • Replace that with more fruits and vegetables
  • Ask for less sweet sauce
#4: CHICKEN RICE (572 CALORIES)
chicken rice

Image Credits: Time Out

Craving for a fragrant plate of warm chicken rice right now. Coupled with some black sauce, minced ginger, and spicy garlic red chilli sauce… it’s heaven in the form of food. But hold up, go easy on the sauce. Almost got carried away, my bad.

To lower the calories, remove the chicken skin before digging in. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) encourages us to opt for plain or brown rice. Honestly, that’s a little too much for me to sacrifice. So instead of swapping the entire plate, you can opt for less rice. As for the cucumber slices, you should know what to do! Request for more greens.

One chicken wing with skin (about 34g) has 99 calories. When compared to the same without skin, it’s only about 42 calories. Eating it without the skin will allow you to cut your calories intake by more than half! Just imagine the amount you can lessen if you remove them from your plate completely.

TL;DR

  • Remove chicken skin
  • Opt for plain / brown rice or ask for less rice
  • Request for more cucumber slices
#5: NASI LEMAK (575 CALORIES)
nasi lemak

Image Credits: tasteasianfood.com

To round up this article, we have our all-time favourite nasi lemak. This dish rich in coconut milk is usually served with fried anchovies, toasted peanuts, and cucumber slices. Oh yes, and accompanied with addictive sambal chilli.

If you’ve faithfully read this article from start to end, you should know where this paragraph is heading towards. First up, ask for less coconut rice. We hope you’ve not forgotten what we shared before – how 100g of coconut milk has about 230 calories. Secondly, if you’re serious about your health, choose vegetables over fried items. Lastly, go easy on that gravy.

TL;DR

  • Ask for less coconut rice
  • Choose vegetables over fried items
  • Go easy on the gravy

We’re sure it won’t taste 100% the same if you heed our recommendations. But, your body will thank you in the long run. On a positive note, you don’t have to give up on your favourite local hawker foods and survive just on salads. Isn’t that something worth rejoicing for?

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