Zero's Unlikely Snacks has opened in Silver Lake, on the north side of Hyperion that butts right up against Los Feliz. It's full of treats from around the world, from Japanese ramen to Northern Irish potato chips. And so very many candy bars.
The mission of Zero's owners is to bring rare taste sensations to Los Angeles, whether it's snacks they found in other countries and fruitlessly searched for here, or retro American candies that are in extremely limited production now. The shop itself is tiny — living room–sized — and it's packed to the literal rafters with brightly colored packages full of temptations.
Among the notable items in the shop is Cherry Ripe, an Australian confection of coconut, cherry flavor and chocolate: Think Mounds meets chocolate-covered cherries. Picnic bars, also Australian, include peanuts, wafers, caramel and rice crisps in milk chocolate. You'll notice that Australian snack foods include a health warning. Which you may ignore.
On the savory side, there is Big Roll, which, let me tell you, did not come here to play. It's a Thai snack, just a big sheet of rolled-up nori, but it's shockingly spicy and thoroughly funked-up with squid essence. It's good! Just startling at first.
The world of potato chips is well represented at Zero's, with British/Canadian flavors (you can finally see what the Ketchup fuss is about); Northern Ireland's Tayto brand, which tastes of actual potatoes (and comes in a relatively small bag labeled “Big Bag”); and Southeast Asian varieties of Lay's, including miengkam krobos, which is supposed to taste like a dish made of coconut, chilis, peanuts, ginger, garlic and lime. The chips taste like Froot Loops to me, but I guess that has its place.
Zero's is about equidistant to Marshall High School and King Middle School, but so far students aren't the store's primary customers. According to one of the owners, business really slowed down during Burning Man. Good thing for Zero's that it's over for another year.
2217 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; zeroshyperion.com.