Which One is Healthier: Char Siew Rice, Chicken Rice or Duck Rice?

Aktive Learning

By Natalie Black (guest contributor)

In this article we will do a local food showdown, comparing the nutritional value of Char Siew Rice, Chicken Rice and Duck Rice, and conclude on the healthiest option.

Char Siew Pork Rice

“Char siew” means “fork burn or roast”, named after the traditional method of cooking long seasoned strips of pork on a fork over fire. Char siew pork rice is served with slices of char siew, sliced cucumber, white rice and covered in a sweet gravy or dark soy sauce. Generally you can choose steamed white rice or the oily chicken rice.

Portion: 327 g

Energy: 605 calories

Protein: 24 g

Carbs: 91 g

Fat: 16 g

(Note: Approximately 380 calories from char siew pork – the remainder in rice and sauces)

Chicken Rice

The chicken is cooked by boiling the entire chicken in a pork and chicken bone stock. The rice is very oily as it involves a chicken stock specially created to flavor the rice. Served with sliced cucumber, sometimes steamed Chinese vegetables, and always a mixture of chili sauce with garlic and ginger.

Portion: 340 g

Energy: 720 calories

Protein: 30 g

Carbs: 60 g

Fat: 40 g

(Note: Approximately 180 calories in half a breast of chicken – the remainder in rice and sauces)

Duck Rice

Prepared in much the same way as the chicken rice, except, generally the duck is prepared either roasted or braised in thick gravy. The rice is still flavorful and oily.

Portion: 420 g

Energy: 706 calories

Protein: 24 g

Carbs: 86 g

Fat: 30 g

(Note: Approximately 255 calories in duck meat – the remainder in rice and sauces)

And the winner is…


(photo: KayOne73)

Char siew rice has the lowest calories and fat!

Follow these tips when choosing any of these meals:

  • The healthier meat option to choose from the three is definitely the chicken. Char siew is so energy dense as it is coated in sugar and honey to get the lovely sticky sweet taste
  • If possible you should ask for steamed white rice not the oily chicken rice (but then, that almost defeats the purpose of eating it right?)
  • PORTION, PORTION, PORTION: Always eat only a fist size portion of rice.
  • Remove the skin from the chicken and duck
  • Order a side of steamed green vegetables if you need to fill up
  • Go easy on the sauces – always ask for less

Finally, remember to follow my additional recommendations every time you eat: Eat slowly, put your utensils down between bites and always stop when you feel 80% full because it’s better to waste it than to ‘waist’ it. Enjoy!

By guest contributor Natalie Black, an accredited Exercise Physiologist who blogs at The Health Guru. Via HealthMatters.sg, a Singapore Health and Fitness blog that aims to help you lose weight, keep fit, and live healthy. Click here to get our free guide “Eat Your Way to Health – Secrets of a Healthy Diet”.

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