With the sheer variety of options, food centres may be a convenient culinary paradise for many of us, but do you know how they rate on the scale of healthy? Some bad news: if you’re watching your weight, your neighbourhood hawker joint could be a potential landmine. On the upside, you now have a clearer idea of which local delicacies are better as a treat than a daily occurrence. Or even better, learn how to cook them the healthy way at home!
Discern between your mee
Not all noodle dishes are made equal. For instance, lor mee has 383 calories while laksa has a whooping 700 calories. The devil lies in the gravy: lor mee’s gravy consists of meat broth, water, corn starch, black vinegar and eggs while laksa gravy is mostly thick coconut milk.
Noodles are also carbs
Think you’re safe if you’re switching rice with noodles? Think again. Noodles, usually made of dough, also contains carbs. So it might not be wise to think it’s OK to eat more servings of noodles just because you didn’t eat rice for the whole day.
Exercise oil control
One way to ensure that you don’t consume too much oil at home is by using a cooking spray to limit the quantity of oil in your cooking.
Try this skinny Laksa
Although assam laksa is generally healthy, some versions outside can still hide a fair amount of calories. Tried, test and proven for taste, this Food For Life TV recipe has only 251 calories.
The next time you’re heading to the hawker centre, think ahead of your meal choices. Apart from mixed vegetable rice, Teochew porridge is a good alternative with its variety of dishes. Opt for vegetables and steamed meats instead of the fried and oily options.
A prata may look indiscreet, but just one piece can contain as much as 585 kcal! If you’re pairing it with chicken curry, choose boneless and skinless chicken breast if you’re cooking at home for a healthier choice. The good news is, there are health benefits to eating this dish, due to the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, a spice powder which also helps with digestive issues.
Make sure your chickens run
If you’re having chicken rice outside, skip the skin and ask for more vegetables. Firing up the stove? One way to ensure that your version of the national dish is healthier and tastier is to choose the active “kampong” (free range) chicken as the meat will be more succulent and comes with less fat.
Reduce the amount of ingredients
Everything should be done in moderation, so you should also moderate the amount of ingredients you add to a dish. Reduce oil where possible and if your dish contains vegetables, there’s no harm in adding more veggies!
Black or white?
Did you know that white carrot cake contains less calories than the black one? Yes, black carrot cake is tastier, but maybe you’d want to alternate between the black and white when you have your carrot cake cravings.
Love them? Make them
There is usually a secret ingredient behind many a popular hawker dish. Once you’ve mastered the basics, give the recipe a healthy spin. Instead of using lard for your bak chor mee, consider the heart-healthy and tasty option of canola oil instead.