How many calories are there in your favourite Chinese New Year snacks?

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By Rachel Au

How many calories are there in your favourite Chinese New Year snacks?

Like every festive season, Malaysians tend to celebrate with food and lots of food (and family and friends too) and Chinese New Year is no different. Besides yee sang and dinners, we do tend to overindulge on our favourite CNY snacks without realising the calorie count.

That doesn’t mean they should be avoided completely; like every other sinful delight (refer to #CheatDayEats), they should be taken in moderation. Here is a list of some of our faves with the average calories they contain.


Pineapple tart – 165 calories for two pieces

They’re available all year round but you’ll still find people selling/stocking up on these every Chinese New Year. The heavenly mix of buttery pastry with a generous portion of pineapple jam, however, can be heavy on the calories scale depending on how much butter and sugar are used.


Bak kwa (barbeque pork) – 229 calories for one square piece

A must-have for every Chinese New Year, you’ll find yourself casually taking piece after piece in one seating while catching up with your family or friends. It’s hard to resist but did you know that just two pieces of bak kwa have almost the same amount of calories as one plate of chicken rice?

kueh bangkit CNY cookies

Kueh bangkit – 46 calories for two pieces

Made from tapioca rice flour, coconut cream and sugar, these traditional Chinese New Year cookies are a general favourite as they instantly melt in your mouth and that’s surprisingly addictive.


Dried shrimp rolls – 228 calories for 10 rolls

It’s true: big things come in small sizes. These spring roll-like snacks may be tiny but they’re jam-packed with dried prawns, chillies, garlic, oil, salt and sugar; and most likely deep-fried in palm oil. High in both saturated fat and sodium content, it can increase the risks of heart disease.

love letter chinese new year cookies

Love letters – 112 calories for two pieces

Whether they come in either a rolled form or in a fan shape, it’s easy to binge on these crisp cookies and assume it’s as light in calories as it’s light in taste. Sadly, they’re not. With coconut milk, flour, sugar and eggs as its primary ingredients, they’re not very loving to your body at all.


Cashew cookies – 124 calories for two pieces

Nuts are supposed to be good for you after all, right? Not if they come in bite-size cookies like these. Containing butter, sugar, eggs and flour as well, they can be quite high in fat and sugar.


Peanut cookies – 100 calories for two pieces

Grounded from peanuts, these melt-in-your-mouth cookies are in the same calorie boat as the cashew cookies. It’s definitely healthier to meet your nutty quota (it’s linked to lower cholesterol levels, better heart health, weight control and even lower cancer risk) with a small handful of dry roasted, unsalted nuts instead.

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