You don’t need a round-trip ticket to Belarus when you can just raid the aisles at Minsk Market. Located in a strip mall with a massage therapist and luxe bridal shop, Minsk is easily one of our favorite spots in Eagan — the Eastern European equivalent of specialty grocery stores like United Noodles, Joyful African Foods, Truong Thanh, Ha Tien, Hmongtown Marketplace, Hmong Village Shopping Center, Pooja Grocers, Little India, Dragon Star Oriental Foods, and Dong Yang.
Belarus native Artur Chayka founded Minsk Market in 2006 to serve the needs of our proud Russian-speaking population — a community MinnPost once called “Minnesota’s invisible immigrants.” If you’re shopping for something specific at Minsk, it helps to bring a translator. But we have fun just roaming the aisles, taking a gamble on any product that catches our eye.
Among our spoils: a fizzy quart of Russian-style kefir, a block of sweet cream butter from Lithuania, Polish pickle soup, Siberian dumplings, smoked kielbasa, spicy Ukrainian adjika, pickled garlic sprouts from Israel, Lithuanian cheesecake bars, a wealth of goodies from the Republic of Georgia (frozen khachapuri, vanilla-laced lemonade, and walnut ropes in cherry syrup FTW!), a loaf of dark rye bread so dense it could double as a doorstop, and far too many jars of oil-packed sardines. Our only dud was a wickedly salty can of herring roe, but maybe we just don’t know how to pair it.
The real showstopper, however, was the beautiful “Monastery Hut” pyramid cake pictured above, made in-house and sliced by the pound. It might be the best use of cherries and sour cream we’ve ever encountered.
For folks who don’t know our backstory, Team Minnevangelist both work in the travel sector: Ashlea Halpern is an editor at AFAR and a writer for Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, and Artful Living, while Andrew Parks focuses on food and drink for Food & Wine, October, and Minnesota Monthly. Ashlea’s work, in particular, has her on the road about half the year—at least, it did until COVID-19 hit. Supporting stores like Minsk Market helps us keep the spirit of travel alive (and our kitchens stocked with deliciousness) when we can’t actually go anywhere.
3920 Cedar Grove Pkwy., Eagan, MN; 651-209-0564.