Chomp Chomp hawker babe loses 26kg in 10 months
Transforming your life takes immense courage, hard work and dedication.
Just ask 31-year-old Xu Jinghui.
Amid a sea of barbecue and seafood stalls at Chomp Chomp Food Centre, Ms Xu owns Chick N' Treat, the only fried chicken shop there.
However, her entrepreneurship dream does not come without hardship.
According to Lianhe Zaobao, Ms Xu weighed 76.2kg a year ago.
She said: "My weight soared after I gave birth and doctors told me that there would be heath issues if I got any fatter."
As Ms Xu was born with a ventricular septal defect, being overweight would exacerbate her condition.
Taking heed of her doctor's warning, Ms Xu embarked on a weight loss journey.
She lost 26kg over 10 months by following a diet plan, sharing weight loss tips on her social media platforms during the process.
Ms Xu said her physique has since improved and she can now easily handle hawker work.
"I can stand for long periods of time and my feet don't swell like they used to," she added.
Whether it's serving customers, preparing food or collecting payment, Ms Xu does it all herself single-handedly.
The fried chicken fan said she decided to set up shop at Chomp Chomp as she lives nearby.
Her boyfriend realised that no one was selling fried chicken in the area.
Ms Xu, who started working at the age of 19, had held a stable job for two years before deciding to strike it out on her own.
Things were not easy at first — she borrowed more than $10,000 from family and friends to set up her stall.
Ms Xu also tried seven different marinades and painstakingly developed her recipes before opening Chick N' Treat. Its menu was designed by her boyfriend.
Unfortunately, reality dealt Ms Xu a further blow when she opened her stall in April 2023 and it earned only about $100 daily. The amount was not enough for rent and capital costs, let alone for repaying her debt.
To make monthly rent of $3,180, the stall would have to rake in $250 to $300 per day.
Nevertheless, Chick N' Treat has already attracted some regular customers and business is gradually improving with the help of social media.
In order to improve sales, Ms Xu has also started selling homemade desserts at her stall, with the menu changing daily.
She said: "I realised that it's difficult to find stalls selling desserts in hawker centers, so I decided to launch desserts for diners to eat after dinner."
As Chick N' Treat is open until midnight, it is usually 2am by the time Ms Xu reaches home.
With desserts now in the mix, she is often toiling away until 5am. She then gets some sleep before opening her stall again.
Yet Ms Xu displays a cheerful front when serving customers.
She said: "I don't regret it."