Cold-pressed juices are what you’d expect to find at hip salad joints and cool cafes, not hawker centers. Well, “60-something” Wong Su Mei (she’s coy about her exact age) wants to change that. “In Singapore, I am probably the only hawker making cold-pressed fruits and vegetable juices on the spot!” says the owner of ASip juice stall in Commonwealth Crescent Market.
The ex-admin coordinator first learned about cold-pressed juices around 2013 and started juicing at home diligently, especially after noticing an improvement in her family members’ general health after months of drinking her vegetable-based concoctions. Unlike many sleekly packaged cold-pressed juices available on the market, hers are just pure cold-press extractions, with no addition of water or sugar. And here’s the clincher: her prices start from $2 for a 12 oz (350ml) cup of single-variety fruit juice such as apple or orange. This is pretty much the same price as a regular cup of apple or orange juice from any old hawker stall, and a steal compared to the almost-$ ten branded bottled cold-pressed juices sold at cafes and salad shops which are often diluted with coconut water. Just for price comparison: a 500ml bottle of Antidote cold-pressed juice costs $18, while a 280ml citrus juice from Hic costs $6.50 (if you buy a carton of 12 bottles).
Extracted through cold press machines through a gentler process, cold-pressed juices take a bit longer to prepare but retain much more of the natural nutrients in fruits and veggies than conventional fluids, which might have their nutrients oxidized through the high-speed, high-heat process from cheaper machines.
When a neighbor suggested that she take up a hawker stall since she retired from her admin job, it became a perfect platform for promoting cold-pressed juices. But, of course, setting up a hawker stall for the first time had its challenges, and Mei shares that she has had to live with many “mistakes” made. Her challenge is also in educating people about what cold-pressed juices are and why they’re more beneficial than regular juices.
Mei uses four machines (she declined to reveal its brand), each costing about one grand: two each for vegetables and fruits, respectively. And while she has been operating ASip Drinks since 2014, Mei was only able to properly focus on the business in the last two years due to family commitments. Recently, she has also trimmed her menu of some 45 juices down to about 20 in a bid to streamline operations and cut down on her customer’s waiting time, which is nearly double the weight compared to an average cup of juice at a hawker center.