Walk into any 7/11 or Cheers outlet and you’re likely to see a bottle of Three Legs Cooling Water in the cooler. Although the brand’s look might lead you to think otherwise, it is very much a local brand and one with lots of history!
In fact, Three Legs Cooling Water has been kicking about before Tiger Balm was even a twinkle in the eyes of the Aw family.
Set up in 1937, its first customers were poor labourers or coolies from China. Because of its low cost and familiarity, they preferred traditional Chinese medicine over Western medicine. The founders of Wen Ken Group, who were all from Mainland China themselves, understood that. So they launched their products, which were all derived from traditional Chinese recipes they brought with them from Fujian province.
The products were a hit.
Three Legs Cooling Water was one of the original four products that were part of Wen Ken Group’s foray into the market. Its popularity led to the opening of a new factory in Johor Bahru in the 1940s. As of 2017, Wen Ken Group’s biggest market is in Indonesia, where it has three factories to keep up with demand. Today, Three Legs Cooling Water remains the most popular of Wen Ken Group’s myriad products. According to my colleague, it tastes just like regular water.
Having said that, there are people who swear by its ability to counteract the “heatiness” in one’s body. After all, the naturally occurring minerals weren’t added to enhance the flavour of the drink. Instead, they were added because they are believed to able to dispel “heatiness”, according to Chinese traditional medicine theory.
Today, there are many flavours of Three Legs Cooling Water to choose from and just as many related products. Lychee, lime, guava… it’s just a matter of time before a bartender in Singapore invents a new drink with Three Legs Cooling Water in it.
Have you tried Three Legs Cooling Water, or any of Wen Ken Group’s other products? Do you know anyone who swears by their products? Tell us on our Facebook page and give us a follow!