These snack shops featuring wacky and exclusive treats are taking over Queen West

Toronto is experiencing a sudden surge in a brand new market. No, it’s not high fashion labels, and no, it’s not another coffee shop. Filling the streets of Toronto are exotic snack shops looking to feed off your desire for exclusive items and unique food.

These snacks are treats from all over the world that range from difficult to impossible to attain up north. Many people opt to bring home carry-ons full of exotic snacks from their latest travel destination. But, when your stock eventually runs out, you’re kinda screwed.

However, local shops are popping up, especially on Queen West, and offering Torontonians the chance to try snacks from anywhere without hopping on a plane (and thank goodness for that!). From green tea Kit Kats to Welch’s sparking soda, Toronto has been excluded from some of these crazy creations.

Dank Mart is located at 399 Queen St. W., offering its goodies from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The store carries everything from cereal to candy, giving you the chance to try just about anything. Dank Mart also offers the “Legendary Dank Pack,” which is a custom, hand-curated mystery box.

Similarly, Trap Mart is located close to Trinity Bellwoods Park, boasting a 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. workday. Trap Mart claims to have the largest range and selection in the entire GTA, with 228 items currently listed on their website. Some of their most unique items include the Bounty bar spread and salted caramel popcorn chunky Kit Kat.

Not to be outdone, Vaughan snack shop Exotic Snax GTA just arrived in Toronto at 288 Queen St. W. with their second location, offering up Dunkaroo cereal, Icee-flavoured cookies and even Warheads soda.

Although Torontonians have a sweet tooth, these stores are capitalizing on something Torontonians just can’t resist – exclusivity.

The exotic snacks hashtag has over 58,000 posts on Instagram, with people flexing and showing off their newly acquired treats. Local stores are now giving people the chance to stop scouring the internet and purchase these unicorn-rarity snacks at their local brick and mortar.

It’s easy to get caught up in the desire to have what everyone else doesn’t, thought we usually reserve that thinking for the newest sneaker drop or a limited edition item from a highly-coveted brand. So it’s certainly interesting to see Torontonians flexing their purchase of a new release of Dunkaroos or Skittles cookies (yup, they’re real!).

But stores like Dank Mart and Trap Mart, alongside Lucky’s Bodega and Exotic Snax GTA, are promoting positivity and pure enjoyment. Their stores feature chic layouts with bright colours and upbeat staff offering ridiculous amounts of snack-related information.

Take a stroll down Queen Street to see for yourself – who knows, maybe the snack you’ve always dreamt of will appear right before your eyes.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO