SPOTLIGHT ON MOJO PICON
There’s something to be said for old-school market classics. Even as we welcome new food vendors with fresh and exciting ideas, we continue to love the stalls that pull in the crowds year in, year out.
At Cambridge Markets EQ, one of our favourites is our Spanish food stall, Mojo Picon.
The duo behind Mojo Picon, Allan and Matilde, arrived at the EQ market in 2002, long before the new-wave of food trucks and mobile hot food vendors. “Back then, there was no hot food at the market other than pies and sausage rolls,” Allan says. “Sydney’s food scene was starting to take off, but not like it is now.”
Back then, the pair started by selling their homemade Spanish sauces. “A few years later we started cooking prawns to show people how to use the sauces, that’s how we became a hot food stall.
“We were two young people with a passion for Spanish cuisine wanting to make a difference. The only change now is there are a lot more people trying to do just that.”
As the market’s food selection has grown, Allan and Matilde have witnessed the rise of elaborate menus and trend-focused foods. “Everything is a lot more complex these days. We began with prawns and chorizo, but a new stallholder today will have 15 different things on their menu.” Mojo Picon began serving their now-signature paella as a way of keeping up with the ever-growing competition, and soon found a loyal customer base that come back each week for this classic Spanish rice dish. “Food trends come and go so quickly because of social media,” Allan says. “It’s great to have the variety, but you need to focus on one thing and do it really well. For us that’s our paella.”
Every Wednesday and Saturday lunchtimes, Mojo Picon is rarely without a full house. Regulars get in early, perching on the built-in bar stools that surround the Mojo Picon stall, as Matilde finishes the paella in time for the lunch rush. Even on a cold, wet day, Allan says, his loyal customers will come out. “They’re the ones who keep us going. Without the people, you’ve got nothing.” @mojo