Imagine little wieners in all their glory. Now imagine biting through the crisp, smokey casing with a snap, and finding the perfect amount of cheese inside.
These little bites of sausage-smoked cheese from Lithuania are one of the bestsellers at Malinka Euro Market in Greenacres.
“We have a customer who buys them by the case,” said Angelina Chebotareva, who helped her older sister, Nina Lapin, open Malinka in March.
The sisters are two of 16 children who left Russia for Vancouver, Washington, together with their parents almost 15 years ago.
Neither sister had any experience running a grocery store when they decided to apply for a business license around New Year’s holiday.
“I have a friend who has a store in Oregon,” Lapin said. “She helped us get phone numbers for some of the importers.”
On the shelves at the small and very organized market are special foods from Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, Italy, Germany and Israel.
Malinka, which means ‘raspberry’ in Russian, also carries a surprisingly large assortment of kosher meats and treats.
“People ask for Kosher a lot, so every time we get a new product we try to get it kosher, too,” Lapin said.
The market carries a large assortment of the pickled vegetables and mushrooms that are often served with dinner in Eastern Europe.
Canned fish competes for shelf space with at least a dozen varieties of tea, including rose hip and black currant, as well as several green teas, and some East European coffees.
Dozens of baskets hold Russian and East European candies made out of chocolate and caramel, nuts and hard candy.
“Americans really like the chocolate candy,” Chebotareva said. “I think it has more flavor. They say it taste almost like German chocolate.”
The deli case holds sausages, bologna and salami and, well, headcheese, a gelatinous meat sausage people either love or hate. kosher meats are kept in a separate case.
Frozen dumplings are available in many flavors as is pirogi.
Another reason to stop by Malinka is the homemade bread and cakes. Lapin said her mom does all the baking “from secret family recipes” and that cake orders are welcome.
“But remember our cakes a little different,” Chebotareva said. “They are made from scratch with real eggs and real ingredients.”
A grand opening celebration is planned for Aug. 16.
“We will have a little party,” Chebotareva said, “and give out samples of everything.”
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