When you picture the height of luxury, what comes to mind? You may have thought of fast cars, fancy mansions, or shimmering jewelry. But one of life’s everyday pleasures can also indicate wealth. That pleasure is food.
Today, we’re here to talk about some of the most expensive food in the world. Our list is full of hearty steaks, tiny seafood, and even something as simple as a cup of tea.
It’s a genuinely fascinating list of foods in no particular order, many of which cost thousands of dollars for a single serving.
Try not to work up too much of an appetite!
If you’re already hungry for more, jump to the most expensive food section below:
- Da Hong Pao Tea
- Kobe Beef Steak
- Foie Gras
- Bay Eel
- Iberico Ham
- Edible Gold
- Ayam Cemani
- Bonnotte Potatoes
- Brown-lipped Abalone
- Wally’s Porterhouse
- Polmard Cote de Boeuf
- Almas Caviar
- Grand Velas Taco
The Most Expensive Food In The World.
1. Da Hong Pao Tea
A cup of tea may be one of the most ordinary things you can think of, but Da Hong Pao Tea is anything but average. This particular tea is one of the highest quality blends from China and even has a “royal” reputation.
There are several different Da Hong Pao Tea varieties – many of which are affordable – but the original Da Hong Tea can cost as much as $1,400 for one gram.
When you think of spices, you probably don’t think expensive. But saffron is one of the priciest spices out there.
Saffron comes from the Crocus flower, which sprouts deep red stigma more commonly known as threads. These threads are incredibly rare, as the Crocus only blooms a couple of weeks per year, and each flower only has three threads.
Dried saffron, used both for flavor and color, can sell for as much as $5,000 per kilogram. Imagine if salt was that expensive!
3. Kobe Beef Steak
If you’re going to order the most expensive food thing on any menu, there’s a good chance you’ll be eating a big, juicy steak. And at $850 per pound, the Kobe beef steak would almost certainly be the most expensive thing.
This beef comes from Tajima Black cattle raised in Japan. This breed of cattle has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years and produces tasty meat, and exports from Japan are minimal.
4. Foie Gras
It’s genuinely impossible to know what foie gras is unless you’ve had it. And due to its high price, it’s safe to say not many people in this world have actually had it.
Foie gras is a specialty food made with fattened duck or goose liver. Sounds appetizing, no? Well, not really, but it’s known for having an incredibly rich and buttery taste, which could be good!
This delicacy is the center of controversy. To fatten the liver, the animals must go through a unique feeding technique that many animal rights activists oppose. This process is partly why the product is so expensive at around $125 for a two-pound liver.
Why not have a traditional French Christmas feast and pair this with some shortbread cranberry cookies?
5. Bay Eel
Something fished off of the coast of Maine can’t possibly be that expensive food, right? If that’s your assumption, you’d be very much mistaken.
The bay eel is an American baby eel that is more expensive food than pretty much any other seafood Maine is known for – including delicious Maine lobsters.
Related: The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
These tiny little eels sell for as much as $2,000 per pound. Not only are they a huge deal in Maine, but they’ve hit the Japanese restaurant industry through fishermen who buy and raise the aquatic animals.
6. Iberico Ham
Ham is so common today that we don’t typically consider this meat a delicacy. However, Iberico ham is a Spanish ham that says otherwise.
This type of ham comes from pigs that are fed acorns. Just one leg of Iberico ham can cost as much as $4,500. That totals to about $300 per pound of meat.
The black Iberian pig that produces this meat is a scarce variety of pig, which, of course, drives up the prices. It also comes from very well-respected production favorites and has been popular meat for hundreds and hundreds of years.
7. Edible Gold
It doesn’t get much more luxurious and obscenely rich than eating pure gold. And it’s true – people do this! Edible gold isn’t really a food at all. It’s simply fragile sheets or flecks of real gold added to dishes to make them beautiful.
Or, it can be a way to help people boast about how rich they are.
An edible gold leaf could tack on an extra $120 to a slice of cheesecake or an average grilled cheese sandwich. We’ll let you decide if it’s worth it.
8. Ayam Cemani
We didn’t realize we had a “world’s scariest chicken” until we met the Ayam Cemani. This Indonesian chicken is eye-catching with an all-black appearance. It has black feathers, a black beak, black eyes, and a black head.
It even has black meat.
The meat from this chicken is rare and delicious. It sells for about $500 per pound, making the average bird worth about $2,500.
9. Bonnotte Potatoes
Bonnotte potatoes look similar to average golden Yukon potatoes, but the price will tell you otherwise. These small, round potatoes are native to a small island called Noirmoutier. They are so delicate that they can only be harvested by hand, and the harvest occurs only 15 days a year.
With this limited supply and slow cultivation method, these potatoes can cost you $588 per kilogram. These potatoes will make you rethink offering to bring the mashed potatoes to Thanksgiving dinner.
10. Brown-Lipped Abalone
At first glance, this mollusk doesn’t look very appetizing. In fact, its name is very appropriate and describes its appearance perfectly.
But the brown-lipped abalone is a rare shellfish found in the Pacific Ocean hidden among the algae, making it difficult to find. At one point, this abalone almost went extinct, making it even more expensive. Capture limits for these sea creatures can be as little as 20 shells per day per fisherman.
Given its rarity, the mollusk sells for about $227 per pound. Of course, that price includes the shell. Meat sold separately can sometimes cost as much as $900 per pound.
11. Wally’s Porterhouse
One of the most expensive meats ever sold globally is Wally’s porterhouse steak. This massive cut of beef was made famous at Wally’s Wine & Spirits, a restaurant in Las Vegas. It’s served at a whopping 60 ounces and costs $20,000 – which is over $5,000 per pound.
If you want to enjoy this humongous chunk of beef, you better win big in Nevada’s famous casinos.
12. Polmard Côte de Boeuf
French beef that costs nearly $1,500 per pound? Yup – that exists.
Polmard Cote de Boeuf comes from cows raised on a family farm in Paris that’s been in the game for six generations. This particular beef is rib steak that has been aged for 15 long years.
Most of this beef is purchased privately, as not many restaurants can afford the steep price. However, one establishment in Hong Kong buys this rib steak to sell in-house.
So what’s the secret to such delicious meat that most restaurants can’t even afford? Rumor has it that the Polmard family keeps its free-range cows in extremely low-stress environments to keep the meat tasting delicious.
13. Almas Caviar
No list of expensive food would be complete without mentioning the infamous Almas caviar. Fish eggs may be tiny, but the eggs from the rare albino beluga sturgeon have a value of over $30,000 per kilogram.
You might wonder how that’s possible, but the price directly relates to both the age and rarity of the fish that this caviar comes from. This particular caviar must come from a sturgeon at least 60 years old.
14. Grand Velas Taco
It’s always worth paying a little extra for an authentic Mexican taco, but the Grand Velas Taco takes extra to the next level at the steep price of $25,000. As excessive as that sounds, these tacos have pretty much the best of everything – including a couple of the foods on our list. So, if you want to try a few of the most expensive foods at one time, get some Grand Velas Tacos.
Your taco comes packed with Kobe beef, Beluga caviar, and black truffle cheese. As if that doesn’t sound luxurious enough, the toppings include edible flower petals and gold leaves.
Yes, that’s right – gold leaves.
And when something costs this much, you might as well have it served with the finest bottle of tequila or paired with homemade Mexican cornbread.
What Food Item Sells for the Highest Price?
In 2020, a Bluefin Tuna weighing in at 608 pounds sold for $1.8 million at the New Year’s auction in Tokyo’s famous Toyosu fish market.
Surprisingly, this wasn’t the highest bid on record. In 2019, a tuna weighing 612 pounds sold for $3.1 million at the same auction.
Is Edible Gold Safe?
Because gold is a noble metal, 24 karat gold does not react within the human body since it is not absorbed by the digestive system. In fact, eating gold dates back thousands of years to the Ancient Chinese and Roman empires.
Some even believe that eating gold may have health benefits, and in Indian Royal Culture it is believed to improve cognitive skills and boost overall health.
Where Can I Try Expensive Foods?
While some of the foods on this list are prepared in specific locations by brilliant chefs, other items can be found in specialty markets or local high-class restaurants.
It’s important to always research the authenticity of products in your area. You want to ensure that you’re receiving the full experience, and not paying a fortune for a product that may not be worth its price tag.
The Most Expensive Food: Final Thoughts
Most of us will never have the opportunity to try any of these expensive delicacies, but it’s still fun to learn about them and perhaps dream a little bit. If you even get the chance to taste Almas caviar or Kobe beef steak, make sure you don’t pass it up!
Let us know your favorite luxury food in the comments below!