Healthy hawker food in Singapore garnered the love of locals and tourists alike. All hawker food stalls on the island pride themselves on serving authentic and healthy Asian cuisine.
Moreover, some people claim that dining at hawker plazas feels like eating at fast food restaurants. However, you can only find quick and healthy food in hawker centres.
While there, you also get the option to see your food being prepared in front of you. Each stall also indicates certain grades from the Grading System for Eating Establishments
11 Must-try Healthy Hawker Food in Singapore
When dining in Singapore, health buffs often struggle to find the best healthy hawker food for them. To help you guys out, we listed 11 must-try healthy hawker food in Singapore that most locals swear by.
Yong Tau Foo
In this Hakka dish, you usually build your own bowl by handpicking assorted vegetables and tofu items stuffed with fish paste or a ground meat mixture. The ingredients are boiled or fried, then served dry or in a soup. They are eaten on their own, or with rice or noodles.
It is better to order the soup version, as then, very little oil is added to the dish. Make sure you select fresh vegetables and avoid everything fried, and processed meats such as sausages.
Those with high blood pressure should skip drinking too much of the soup as it can be high in sodium. Fortunately, each serving only contains around 165 calories.
Opt for fish paste over ground meat for stuffing as ground meat stuffing is usually made from fatty meat parts. Go for vegetable-based ingredients with fish paste, such as okra, red or green chilli, bitter gourd and eggplant, as they are higher in fibre.
And include at least two leafy green vegetables, as well as tofu for sufficient protein.
If you’re looking for comfort food with low calories, look no further than the humble porridge or congee. Most hawkers use less oil, and it’s best had hot!
You usually get to choose a few sides to go with a bowl of watery congee. Try to order 2 vegetable dishes, preferably dark, leafy greens, and a fish (choose steamed or lightly stir-fried).
Thunder Tea Rice
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White or brown rice is topped with various finely chopped vegetables like cabbage, spinach, leek, chye sim, green beans and preserved radish, as well as tofu, peanuts and fried ikan bilis. It’s served with a green soup made from basil, mint, green tea, mugwort and coriander.
The soup can be had separately or mixed with the rice. And yeah, wherever there’s the option, go for brown rice.
This dish has a wide variety of vegetables, is rich in fibre and antioxidants and contains little or no fat.
Chapati is usually made with wholemeal flour, which has more fibre. One serving of chapati contains 143 calories and 5g of fat. This makes it an option for healthy hawker food in Singapore.
Lessen the calories by avoiding the ghee, which makes you consume additional fat. While ordering, remember to request for chapati without the ghee.
To further enjoy your order of chapati, we suggest you eat it with dhal curry. Dipping it in dhal or lentil soup adds more plant protein to your system.
Sliced Fish Soup
This dish is low in fat and consists of sliced fish, tofu, tomatoes, and seaweed. Each serving also contains lettuce, bitter gourd or chye sim for added nutrition.
Despite being known as a healthy hawker food in Singapore, most stalls sell this with fried fish. Fortunately, you may order a bowl of sliced fish soup with boiled fish instead of fried.
For a much healthier alternative, request a serving without milk. Moreover, ask to add more vegetables, and choose less rice. This especially applies to diners who want to watch their weight.
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Herbal Tonic Soup
For a change, how about trying a nutritious Chinese herbal tonic soup? This healthy hawker breakfast favourite offers watercress soup or lotus root soup.
Each bowl of herbal tonic soup contains herbs such as goji berries and red dates. Additionally, the hot soup energizes diners who especially eat it for breakfast.
If you don’t eat breakfast, you can still enjoy this traditional soup as a healthy lunch Singapore hawker meal. However, we suggest you avoid the rice if you don’t want to pile on the calories.
Some of the most famous healthy hawker food in Singapore includes economy rice. When you order this at hawker centres, you usually get a plate full of rice and vegetables.
Every plate containing one cup of rice with vegetables comes with 342 calories. Meanwhile, a plate with a cup of rice with vegetables and meat offers around 430 calories.
Ideally, half of the plate should be filled with non-fried, lightly cooked veggies, with steamed rice and meat (non-fried) making a quarter. Also, opt for clear broths over creamy ones. You might also want to skip the gravy of the meat as it is usually high in sodium and fat.
Mee soto is a spicy noodle soup dish that contains a light broth with egg, shredded chicken, beansprouts, and topped with chives. Aside from the hawker centres in Singapore, you can enjoy a bowl of Mee Soto from other Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.
This dish clocks in at 346 calories in each bowl that weighs around 500g. It also offers around 1897mg of sodium and 115 calories from additional fat.
To make it healthier, ask for the skin to be removed from the shredded chicken, and for a smaller serving of noodles. Also request for more vegetables like beansprouts and spring onions.
Dosa is an Indian dish served like a fermented crepe made from rice flour and ground lentils. It comes in many varieties, like plain, masala (with potatoes), and egg or cheese.
A medium serving of dosa weighs around 97g that contains 168 per serving. You also obtain extra 33 calories from the dish’s fat.
This healthy food in hawker centres usually comes served with sambar (lentil-based curry with vegetables) and chutney. If you plan to order this, you need to prepare for its spicy kick. Fortunately, non-spicy diners may set aside the spicy chilli chutney.
This savoury pancake serves as a healthier alternative than other Indian dishes like roti prata or rojak. However, you need to go easy on the ghee if you want to save on calories.
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Popiah is a type of fresh spring roll containing bean sauce, filling of finely grated and steamed or stir-fried turnip.
Each roll also contains jicama, bean sprouts, Chinese sausage slices, and several grated vegetables. Those who love healthy hawker food in Singapore can look forward to ingredients like thinly sliced fried tofu, fried shallots, and shredded omelette.
Those with peanut allergies need to opt for this well-known healthy lunch Singapore hawker. The sweet sauce that comes with each serving comes with sweet sauce and peanut bits. Additionally, the grated vegetables inside the rolls also contain nuts.
Singapore wonton noodles include noodles, leafy vegetables (preferably cai-xin), barbecued pork (char siu) and bite-sized dumplings or wonton.
It is either served dry or in soup form with the former being more popular. If served dry, the wontons will be served in a separate bowl of soup. Most locals and tourists enjoy this as a healthy hawker breakfast that gives warmth before starting the day.
A bowl of this healthy hawker food in Singapore contains a little over 210 calories. With every serving, you get around 9.3g of protein and 42mg of cholesterol.
Image Source: iStock
Is Hawker Food Healthy and Safe?
New tourists often ask the question, “Is hawker food healthy or safe?” They ask this because most, if not all, hawker stalls openly display and show the food they serve.
Fortunately, newbies to healthy hawker food in Singapore only need to check the grades from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). Each stall comes with a grade from the Grading System for Eating Establishments.
These letter grades correspond with certain points granted by SFA officials. The higher the grade, the greater the quality of the healthy hawker food. Check out the guide for this system below.
||85% or higher
This article was updated by Kaira De la Rosa.