The Health Guru

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Nutrition Info: Char Kway Teow

Posted on | May 6, 2010 | No Comments

Char Kway Teow

Char kway teow is a favourite south east asian dish prepared in many variations depending on if you are in Singapore, Malaysia (Penang, Perak, Sarawak) or Indonesia where it’s known as Kwetiau Goreng. For me personally, it was the first Singapore hawker food that I tried – I even remember that I purchased it at the eating house on Upper Circular Road, Boat Quay.  I think it’s etched in my memory as my first ‘solo’ food purchase because I had no idea what it was or what I was eating – it just looked good!

Char Kway Teow translates to “stir-fried ricecake strips ” and is recognized by the flat, thick rice noodles that are used.  The authentic version is stir-fried with lard (and even has additional pork fat croutons for additional flavour), dark and light soy sauce, chilli, de-shelled cockles, sliced chinese sausage, bean sprouts and sometimes prawns and egg (from duck or chicken).  The secret to the ‘charred’ taste is to be cooked in a wok at a very high temperature and served steaming hot.

Now I can reveal the second part in my memory as to why I so vividly remember the first time I ate Char kway teow – because I can’t stand cockles!  And they were camouflaged by the soy sauce only to be revealed after the first few bites.  I thought it was small pieces of chicken!!

Char Kway Teow is extremely high in saturated fat.  Infact, the average portion contains nearly 40g of fat which is 10g more than the recommended daily allowance of fat. This can of course increases the risk of fat accumulation and weight gain but also poses more serious health risks such as increased cholesterol in the blood, clogged arteries, heart attack and stroke.

Char Kway Teow Portion:  385 grams

  •             Energy:  742 calories
  •             Protein:  22.7 g
  •             Fat:  39 g
  •             Carb:  76 g
  •             Sodium:  1463 mg

Each portion contains over 700 calories which is more than half of the recommended daily calorie intake for females and most males which means not only are your chances very high to gain weight – you’re increasing your health risks as well.  This dish was originally created for the dock workers who had  extremely active jobs and would ‘burn’ off this fat and energy.  However now that our lifestyles have changed there simply isn’t any need to consume a portion of food this size with the high amounts of carbohydrates (noodles), fat and calories.

So how to make this a little healthier?

Eat ½ portion of noodles
Share with a friend so you don’t overeat
Eat slowly and stop eating when you feel 80% full
Ask for NO LARD
Add additional side plate of steamed vegetables
If it’s the flat noodles you are craving -Try Kway Teow Soup instead (only 380 calories)
And if you’re like me – ask for NO COCKLES eh….

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