#

Hainanese chicken rice originated in the province of Hainan (Well, duh!), China, a tropical island and also the nation’s southernmost point. Over the past decades, numerous adaptations have been made by the Chinese immigrants who migrated to Southeast Asia. Nowadays, this iconic dish is a ubiquitous sight at almost every dining spot, from hawker centres to restaurant chains in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

While the juicy and tender chicken will no doubt satisfy your taste buds when paired with an aromatic plate of chicken rice, it is very easy to pack on extra calories when you’re munching on the food without giving it any thought.

Let’s take a look at the calorie content for chicken rice and common side dishes that are consumed together with it.

Chicken Rice and Side Dishes Calories

Food Name

Value Per Serving

Value per 100g

Char Siew (Chinese BBQ Pork) Fried Rice508 - 1 Plate - 23cm (418g)122
Char Siew Rice605 - 1 Plate - 23cm (327g)185
Hainanese Chicken Rice (Rice Only)466 - 1 Bowl-Soup (16 and 1/2 cm) - 295g158
Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chilli Sauce4 - 1 Dessertspoon (13g)31
Hainanese Chicken Rice, with Skin Removed648 - 1 Plate - 23cm (365g)178
Hainanese Chicken Rice, with Steamed Chicken558 - 1 Packet (330g)169
Hainanese Roasted Chicken Rice596 - 1 portion (330g)181
Siu Yuk/Shao Rou (Roasted Pork Belly)32 - 1 Piece (8.3g)387

How to Lower the Calories in a Plate of Chicken Rice?

1. Roasted pork belly is high in fat and calories. Not only is the belly one of the fattier cuts of pork, but the chef will also brush a layer of oil and roast the pork belly until a crispy layer of bubble is formed on the surface of the skin.

If you are looking to satisfy your cravings, opt for a 50/50 proportion of Char Siew (Chinese BBQ Pork) and Siew Yoke (Roasted Pork Belly) together with your chicken rice.

2. For Char Siu Rice, you may ask for leaner cuts of the meat, or simply remove any visible fat on the piece of meat.

3. While undoubtedly delicious and texturally pleasant to consume, chicken rice is the major contributor to the total calorie intake, as the cooking preparation involves sesame oil and chicken fat. To lower the calorie count, substitute chicken stock-infused rice with plain white rice.

4. Sesame oil is often used together with salt to glaze the skin of the chicken. If you were to remove the chicken skin, that will trim down few grams of fat from your meal (More on that in the table listed below).

5. Request to have the gravy served separately from the chicken as most stall owners would agree to it. Use the Chinese BBQ Sauce (叉烧酱) as dipping sauce instead of having it poured over the dish will save you a serious amount of calories.

6. Get an additional serving of boiled vegetables to increase fiber intake1. It goes without saying that dark leafy greens are high in fiber, and that can keep you satiated for a longer period of time.

7. Cucumbers contain about 95% of water2 and it’s low in calories, not to mention the fiber content that comes with it. Feel free to order it to stay hydrated and fill your stomach up.

8. Order soy eggs (卤蛋) as a side dish when you have your plate of Hainanese chicken rice, and consume only the egg white portion. It is higher in protein (It contains about 2/3 of the protein content found in eggs) but lower in calories compared to the egg yolk.

Macronutrient Profiles of Various Parts of a Chicken

Below are the macronutrient profiles of different cuts of chicken per 100 grams:

Value Per 100gChicken, Breast, Raw, Lean and SkinChicken, Breast, Raw, Lean OnlyChicken, Drumstick, Raw, Lean and SkinChicken, Drumstick, Raw, Lean OnlyChicken, Thigh, Raw, Lean and SkinChicken, Wing, Raw, Lean and SkinChicken, Wing, Raw, Lean Only
Energy (kcal)164.59 kcal104.78 kcal154.30 kcal117.70 kcal219.8850 kcal223.9480 kcal126 kcal
Protein (g)20.10 g22.30 g17.60 g18.50 g17 g17.10 g21.97 g
Total fat (g)9.40 g1.60 g9.30 g4.80 g16.90 g17.30 g3.54 g
Saturated fat (g)2.90 g0.50 g2.80 g1.40 g5.30 g5.50 g0.94 g
Dietary fibre (g)NANANANANANANA
Carbohydrate (g)NANANANANANANA
Cholesterol (mg)65 mg59 mg86 mg84 mg84 mg77 mg57 mg
Sodium (mg)39 mg41 mg67 mg71 mg52 mg57 mg81 mg

Which Part Should You Consume for Your Health and Fitness Goal?

Chicken-Body-Parts

While all cuts of chicken are delicious to eat, certain parts can be beneficial to you depending on your health and fitness goal.

For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, then you will want to opt for the part that has the highest amount of protein and the lowest amount of fat, since protein is highly satiating and the thermic effect can help you burn more fat during the digestion phase3. In this case, your best bet is to choose chicken breast (鸡胸) to go with your chicken rice.

By preparing your own meals at home, you don’t have to worry about overeating at your favourite restaurant during lunch hour anymore. Our meal prepping guide will teach you how to cook and store perfect make-ahead meals that taste even better after reheated!

On the other hand, the extra layer of fat in the thigh (鸡二度), drumstick (鸡腿) and wings (鸡翅) can be beneficial for someone who’s on a keto/muscle building diet. A keto diet requires an individual to restrict their carb intake while increasing their fat intake to push the body into a state of fat-burning ketosis, while it’s important to be on calorie maintenance or slight surplus in order to gain muscle.

To summarize, chicken rice is a versatile dish that can be consumed all year round regardless of your health and fitness goals. With just a few simple tweaks, you will be able to increase or decrease the number of calories in the dish to reach your desired outcome.

Source:

1. Joanne L. Slavin, and Beate Lloyd (2012), Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/

2. Cucumber, with Peel, Raw (2019), FoodData Central Search Results. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168409/nutrients

3. R Crovetti, M Porrini, A Santangelo, G Testolin (1998), The influence of thermic effect of food on satiety. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/