Indian street food stall wins Islington Trader of the Year award

MOUTHWATERING meals and sparkling service have earned a husband and wife team the title of Islington Market Trader of the Year 2010.

Kuntal and Mohini Vyas serve up homemade vegetarian dishes to hungry lunchtime diners from their Indian street food stall in Whitecross Street, Finsbury.

Now their stall, Karuna, has been namedthe best in the borough in the closely-fought contest, organised by Islington Council.

Kuntal, Mohini and their team start setting up at 7am each day, cooking rice and paneer on their stall ready for the lunchtime rush.

According to Mohini, the secret of the couple’s success is that food for the stall is made exactly as it is for family meals at home.

She has absolutely no regrets about leaving her office job after marrying and joining her husband on the stall, which she says is very much a “family affair”.

“I could never go back now, not with the freedom that this allows and the people you get to meet.” she said. “In Whitecross Street all the traders are like a local community - everybody looks out for each other.

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“There is a real sense of satisfaction with an award like this - it brings so much pride and shows that our hard work is being recognised.”

She thanked the stall’s “loyal fanbase” and added: “Most of our customers are usually meat eaters - it just goes to show that good food is good food.”

Councillor Joan Coupland, chair of Islington Council’s licensing regulatory committee and the trader of the year judging panel, handed Kuntal and Mohini their prize.

She said: “They have a great variety of food and couldn’t be more friendly - the people who come to the stall come back time after time after time.

“Islington has amazing markets. We had great entries and it wasn’t easy to make a decision - but these winners really do deserve it.”

The contest, now in its third year, was open to all of Islington’s 200-plus council-licensed stalls in markets such as Whitecross Street, Chapel, Exmouth and Archway.

Customers voted for their favourites, with judges making the final decision. As well as the honour, Karuna wins �300 of free trading.

Islington Council is running a free workshop on how to become a market trader on Thursday 18 November 10am-4pm at the Municipal Offices, 222 Upper Street, N1 1XR.

For more information on becoming a market trader in Islington call 020 7527 3185 or email