Counting calories while eating out

Anyone have any suggestions on how to count calories when eating at night market?

Most of the food sold on the night market is not really the most healthy food for a variety of reasons. So if you are concerned about health, then do not eat there a lot. And if you eat there only once in a while, it will not really matter how many calories your food has.


Unfortunately, i’m eating night market food more and more…
It’s really not only night market food. I find it extremely difficult to estimate calories eating anywhere in Taiwan. Such as hot pot places or even a simple bowl of beef noodle soup or pan fried oysters.

Well … realistically, you can’t. It’s impossible. That’s just one of the problems with calorie counting (another is that it’s a pointless waste of time).

Why not just stick to eating healthy food? There are plenty of things available in the night market that are basically OK and you don’t need to “count” anything. The BBQ on sticks, chou doufu or lu wei are good choices. Fried ji pai is not too bad as long as you’re not eating it all the time. Just avoid things that are full of noodles, or sugary drinks. Huo guo is an excellent healthy meal.


Carbs 4 calories/gram
Fat 9 calories/gram
Protein 4 calories/gram

Estimate the weight and you’re good to go.

Unless it’s deep fried.

MyFitnessPal, though terribly buggy and full of crashes recently, has a good deal of local foods in the database. You do, generally, need to search in Chinese though.


Nowt wrong with deep-fried chou doufu. Frying something doesn’t make it unhealthy, although I realise the dieticians still believe otherwise.

Of course, you can’t be entirely sure what it’s being fried in

Depends on the oil.

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The BBQ on sticks is fine. It’s the sauce that they put on it that i’m worried about. I was told the sauce they use are pretty high calorie even though I have no idea what the sauce is.

The problem is the size of the portions vary greatly and the makeup of the food from restaurant differs from place to place. I once looked up how many calories was in a pork dumpling and it told me 50 calories per piece. I was eating 20 at one sitting. I was a little shocked and in disbelief that those 20 dumplings was 1000 calories.

I don’t think that sounds unreasonable.

If you don’t eat out for most meals, a food scale is a nice tool. Weigh everything you eat for a few weeks. Then, track everything for perhaps the same period of time until you are better at eyeballing what things weigh.

And it is not only calories which matter, but also low salt, low bad fats, low sugar and high vegetables. Not really criteria which a lot of night-market food fulfills

There is such a thing as being too worried about calories, food, weight, etc.
I’d personally be a bit worried if a friend was weighing all their meals. Not trying to be preachy here just my :2cents:


While I’m not trying to count every calorie I eat, I like to know if i’m within a ball park of where I need to be. So if it ends up i’m eating 2000 calories every time I go there, I have an idea of how much to cut back. If I’m eating close to my budget, then I wouldn’t worry about it and just enjoy my self.

Example was when I once took a food scale to one of the carousel sushi places I like to goto. Weighed out approximately how much I was eating and learned that it wasn’t nearly as much as I had though. Following trips back to the sushi place, I didn’t have to worry about eating too many calories anymore.

Oh, you want to count the calories you consume when eating out but don’t want to, you know, actually count the calories that you eat?

Why didn’t you directly say so?

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Well carbs are the biggest problem. Most food in taiwan is 90% carbs with some meat and veg as dressing.
Noodles, fried rice, dumplings ect. Drinks aswell, hard to avoid getting a sugary drink if you re going to the night market.

I not trying to get an exact number. But knowing say a chicken skewer is about 100 calories would help.

Probably mainly sugar and fat, starch.

You’re right that they contain quite a lot of sugar, but if you’re worried about getting fat (or losing weight) the “calories” are irrelevant. A functioning body knows how many calories you need.

The problem here (from your 20-dumpling anecdote, and your comment that you’re eating “more and more” at the night market) seems to be that your metabolism is no longer functioning properly, and you won’t be able to fix that by counting calories. All that will happen is that you’ll be perennially hungry and start to go slightly craaaazy.

Try to avoid looking at your food in terms of macronutrients or calories - that stuff is (mostly) pseudoscience. Also try not to classify things as “healthy” or “unhealthy”. Just eat food, and trust your appetite to get things right. If you dial back heavily on the starch for a short period (2 weeks or so), you will find that your appetite will rapidly correct itself and you simply won’t feel compelled to cram down “too many calories”.

My suggestion would be to just eat huo guo every evening for two weeks, and an omelette with coffee for breakfast (or something equivalent that you like - anything that doesn’t involve bread and sweet drinks!). Skip the rice when you eat your huo guo. And don’t pretend that you’re full when you’re not. It might get a little boring, but by the end of the two weeks you should find that your appetite is working normally again, and you’ll feel a lot less inclined to cram down a two-portion serving of fried rice.