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  • Writer's pictureLa Voz Latina

Mangonadas pave the way for Spanish language and snacks to cross cultural barriers

Updated: Apr 19

Written by: Cinthya Roque Blanco 🇸🇻

Image courtesy of  Mauricio Molina

Mangoes, chamoy, and tajin were never in Mauricio Molina's dreams until his sister’s cravings inspired him to open a Salvadoran snack bar.

From working as a radio host to a bank manager to selling traditional Salvadoran snacks for a living, Molina is the enthusiastic Salvadoran owner of four MangoLina locations. MangoLina’s locations range from Virginia to Langley Park, Maryland. 

MangoLina is nestled within a shopping center, located in Langley Park. 

MangoLina’s name derives from the business’s main product: mangoes, and from the owner’s own last name, Molina. 

“I chose MangoLina… because it’s a business name you can say in Spanish, English, Japanese, Chinese,” said Molina. 

From the moment you cross the sidewalk into MangoLina’s lobby, you are greeted with a chorus of hellos and warm smiles from the ladies behind the counter. To the right is a colorful menu featuring a variety of Salvadoran specialities, usually found on street vendors' carts. 

Chocobananos, mangonadas, elotes locos, almond-milk horchata, and dulce fresa: to name a few. 

Emily Bautista, a UMD student described Mangolina as “one place that has it all, and has their own hours, and is more established” as opposed to the street vendors' unstable locations and varying times.  

 While many street vendors sell similar products along Langley Park’s streets, rain and low temperatures typically clear the streets of vendors. MangoLina remains open, rain or shine. 

Molina opened his first MangoLina in 2019, after quitting his job at a bank, where his salary was decent and his hours were steady. He took a leap of faith, as he recounted being clueless about what he was doing. 

He risked every factor in his life in order to fully commit to his business idea of selling mangoes. During his grand opening week, the amount of support he received was overwhelming. 

Old friends from middle school and high school arrived to show their love. That love motivated him to keep trekking. 

Fellow DJ and frequent customer of MangoLina, Fredy Velasquez was one of Mangolina’s first customers, despite the 40 minute commute. From one DJ to another, when Molina asked for Velasquez’s support, the response was immediate. 

“I was like, yo bro you open that store I’m gonna be one of your first customers. And that’s exactly how it was” said Velasquez. 

Molina’s Langley Park location opened the winter of 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. He decided to open this location as he had been a local DJ to the surrounding clubs for many years. 

Despite his friend’s warnings against opening a new business amidst the ongoing chaos, the grand opening line extended 100 yards from Mangolina’s door to the streets of Langley Park. 

As an immigrant from El Salvador serving a community of immigrants from around the globe, Molina expressed his product's ability to cross cultural boundaries. Both his customer base and employees have the opportunity to practice their Spanish-speaking skills once they step into his store. 

“You’ll be surprised how so many of them, from Japan, African Americans or even Americans. They read in Spanish. Can I get a dulce fresa? Hola!.. I think they love going to my store because it makes them want to speak Spanish” said Molina. 

MangoLina’s impact pushed beyond the barriers of Langley park and opened their doors to all customers to enjoy Salvadorian traditions.

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