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Calorie Guide to your favourite snacks

Gong Xi Fa Cai! As we draw closer to the boisterous Chinese New Year, make sure you equip yourself with this handy snack guide

Chinese New Year snacks, anybody?

Imagine being relative’s place and they are bombarding you with questions about your career, your love life, and so on. What better way to steer away from those questions by keeping your mouth full with food?

But be warned! Chinese New Year snacks pack more punch than you’d think. 


Yu Sheng

Let’s start with the centerpiece – the almighty Yu Sheng! Being the king of Chinese New Year dishes, it is little surprise that it commands the most in calorie count too, standing at an impressive 500 – 550 calories per serving. This comes as a shock to most as the yu sheng is basically a salad, but with more seasoning. What you didn’t know is that most of the calories lie with the guilty crackers and sauce. Sure, you can skip the crackers, but the sauce is unavoidable – uh-oh!


Bak Kwa

This is another trademark of Chinese New Year snacks, so expect an impressive calorie count for this too! Bak Kwa, which is essentially marinated minced pork, is easily everyone’s favourite, with most of us making a dash for it when we go visiting! But with the good comes the bad – did you know this snack is incredibly “heaty”? Too much of it can quickly contribute to weight gain. Keep that in mind, and also the fact that one slice of it clock in between 220 – 230 calories. Not that yummy anymore, huh!


Love Letters

This nifty snack, brought over by the Peranakans, is a great fun to eat for the little ones. Remember seeing your nephew or niece sticking one love letter on each finger and polishing them off one by one? Well, little did they know, but that was 50 – 55 calories per piece they just consumed!


Pineapple Tarts

Oh, my favourite of all! Many households make it a custom to try to bake their own pineapple tarts two weeks before the Chinese New Year. In fact, I’m sure your neighbours have already brought you samples of their baking! This tasty pastry is loaded with butter and sits comfortably as one of the most sinful snack, coming in at 80 – 85 calories per piece.


Shrimp Rolls

Made of dried shrimps, this snack is the Pringles of the Chinese New year snack world! One is never enough – we got to have more! While this snack looks unassuming due to its small size, it actually packs a ton in calories, closing in at 220 – 230 calories per mini pack. Yes, small things make big differences!



Last on our list is the “happy nut”, the pistachio. This is one snack that requires you to work for it – I have chipped many a nail trying to pry its shell open! Each pistachio is roasted, leading to a high monounsaturated fat content. Too much of these can lead quickly into a persistent sore throat. Keep your consumption to a minimal! Standing at 110 – 120 calories per handful, this snack is more powerful than you’d think!

By Nicole Lee