SHAPE’S ULTIMATE HAWKER FOOD QUIZ: WHICH IS HEALTHIER?
Aimee may have been born in England, but the British-Chinese considers herself a Singaporean at heart. She’s a fan of local food, listing Hokkien mee, prawn noodle soup and laksa as some of her favourites. While she sure knows her quinoa from her couscous, how does Aimee fare when it comes to picking healthier hawker fare? We put her to the test with this ultra tricky quiz, with input from Jaclyn Reutens, a clinical dietitian and founder of Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants. Here’s the report card. 1. ROASTED CHICKEN RICE OR ROASTED DUCK RICE?
Aimee’s answer: Chicken rice Correct answer: Duck rice The dietitian says: Duck rice is much healthier than chicken rice, which is often cooked with a substantial amount of oil. You can reduce your fat intake by removing the skin. Duck is a also good source of iron – it has almost thrice the amount of iron in chicken. Calorie-saving tip: Ask for less sauce or skip the sauce altogether.
2. NASI BIRYANI (WITH CHICKEN THIGH) OR NASI LEMAK (WITH FRIED CHICKEN WING, IKAN BILIS AND FRIED EGG)?
Aimee’s answer: Nasi biryani Correct answer: Nasi biryani The dietitian says: This is a tough fight between similar dishes. Both contain rice cooked in fat (coconut milk for lemak and ghee for biryani) and are served with protein foods and minuscule amounts of vegetables. However, you’re better off opting for nasi biryani as the rice is lower in calories and saturated fat. The grains used in this dish (basmati or long-grain) are also better for controlling blood sugar levels. When it comes to chicken, the wings are higher in fat than thighs. Calorie-saving tip: Remove the skin on the thigh and eat only half the amount of rice served.
3. CURRY CHICKEN NOODLES OR LAKSA?
Aimee’s answer: Curry chicken noodles Correct answer: Laksa The dietitian says: Laksa is actually more nutritious than chicken curry noodles. Besides being significantly lower in fat, it contains more vitamin A, calcium and iron. Calorie-saving tip: Drain the tau pok of excess gravy before eating it.
4. OYSTER OMELETTE OR FRIED CARROT CAKE?
Aimee’s answer: Carrot cake Correct answer: Oyster omelette The dietitian says: Calorie for calorie, the oyster omelette offers more benefits as the shellfish is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A and iron. Carrot cake is essentially fried starch with some protein from eggs. Calorie-saving tip: Share the oyster omelette with friends!
5. FISHBALL NOODLES OR BAK CHOR MEE?
Aimee’s answer: Fishball noodles Correct answer: Bak chor mee The dietitian says: Although a serving of fishball noodles contains fewer calories than the noodles with mushroom and minced pork, pick the latter for its higher nutritional value. Mushrooms are rich in selenium and B vitamins. Fishballs are high in sodium and often contain fillers, flour, flavoured additives and very little fish meat. Calorie-saving tip: Ask for less oil and more vinegar so the flavour won’t be compromised.
6. MEE REBUS OR MEE GORENG?
Aimee’s answer: Mee goreng Correct answer: Mee goreng The dietitian says: With vegetables and meat mixed in, mee goreng is a more complete meal. It offers more than four times the vitamin A in mee rebus. For meat, choose seafood over chicken or mutton as poorer-quality cuts are typically used. Mutton is also especially high in cholesterol and fat. Calorie-saving tip: Trade yellow noodles for bee hoon.
7. CHAR KWAY TEOW OR HOKKIEN MEE?
Aimee’s answer: Hokkien mee Correct answer: Hokkien mee The dietitian says: Hokkien mee is a better choice as you get quality protein from eggs, prawns and squid. Although cockles are rich in iron, char kway teow is substantially higher in fat, with more than four times the saturated fat found in Hokkien mee. Calorie-saving tip: Skip the lard and drizzle with more lime juice instead.
8. CHENDOL OR BUBOH CHA CHA?
Aimee’s answer: Buboh cha cha Correct answer: Chendol The dietitian says: Chendol contains red beans, which not only offer extra dietary fibre but some vitamin B too. While both desserts are coconut milk-based, buboh cha cha is a heavier option with extra carbohydrates in the form of yam, sweet potato and tapioca flour. Calorie-saving tip: Share half with someone. Avoid mixing the palm syrup into the coconut milk so you take in less sugar.