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The World’s Most Expensive Food Items

Splurge on some of the most expensive kinds of food with these delicacies and rare items.

Staying in one place for too long leads you to eat the same foods repeatedly. While it is ok to have comfort food, it is a good idea to try new things.

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Traveling the world allows you to try different foods that you might never have had the chance to eat otherwise. If you have some extra money, you can even try some of the most expensive foods in the world.

Food can be expensive for a variety of reasons. Some meals are expensive because high-class and respected chefs make them.

Others get their hefty price tags because the materials are pricey to acquire. As a result, the restaurant must spend more to recoup its losses.

Regardless of the price, trying expensive foods every once in a while can be exciting. Here are some of the most expensive foods on the planet.

Most Expensive Foods

Here is our list of the 13 most expensive foods on the market. We will discuss several things for each food, including where you can get them.


White Truffle

You cannot have a list of expensive foods without including white truffles.

Traditionally, people eat black truffles, which are pricy in their own right. However, white truffles are even more pricy. A fresh pound of white truffles can cost anywhere from $6000 to $10,000.

You can find white truffles in the Tuscany and Piedmont regions of Italy. Unfortunately, since they are so expensive, they are often not used by professional chefs.

However, when they are used, they phenomenally help accent dishes. Chefs can grate fresh white truffles on omelets to give them a delicious flavor.

Some cooks even enjoy using it as a salad dressing. Finally, white truffle butter is a higher-class version of traditional butter that provides a unique flavor.


Wagyu Beef

Another popular option available to people around the world is wagyu beef.

This beef is juicier and more tender than traditional beef. It is known for its delicious fat and intense flavor.

Wagyu beef comes from Japan, with the word wagyu means cow in Japanese. However, there are American wagyu beef options that you can try.

Traditionally, wagyu beef comes from virgin female cows. Specifically, they come from Matsusaka cows.

These cows cost around $400,000. As a result, meals with wagyu beef get very expensive.


Matsutake Mushrooms

Mushrooms are used in thousands of different meals in countries all around the world.

They can be used in sweet and savory dishes to bring more flavor. However, there are dozens of different types of mushrooms. As a result, many different flavors can come from mushrooms.

However, no mushroom is more expensive than the matsutake mushroom. These mushrooms can sell for over $1000 a pound.

They are from Japan and have a sweet and spicy flavor that not everyone loves at first. However, once you acquire the taste, you will always want more.

Although the flavor is not for everyone, these mushrooms are very expensive. The reason for their price is their rarity.

The natural habitat of these mushrooms is overrun by the pinewood nematode worm. 

To avoid endangering the species, farmers only harvest these mushrooms once a year. The annual harvest brings in less than 1000 tons of mushrooms.

That might sound like a lot, but it goes away fast when it needs to be shipped all around the planet.


Oysters

An interesting thing about oysters is they were not always expensive food.

200 years ago, oysters were incredibly cheap, and as a result, they were popular in the lower classes of society.

They even served as a cheap option in bars. Unfortunately, over-fishing has reduced the oyster population significantly. Now it is a luxury food.

However, there are many types of oysters and the price varies from species to species. Coffin Bay King Oysters are touted as some of the most expensive oysters in the world.

They take nearly seven years to grow to full size. A kilogram of Coffin Bay King Oysters usually costs around $77.


Saffron

The saffron plant is better known as the saffron crocus. It only blooms one week during the year, and as a result, the harvesting process is very labor-intensive.

Farmers need to take advantage of that week to get as much saffron as possible. Fortunately, only a tiny amount of saffron is needed to bring a lot of flavor to a dish.

However, that does not stop saffron from being very expensive. It can cost up to $5000 per pound at wholesale prices.

Retail prices are even more expensive, costing upwards of $10,000 per pound. Those prices make saffron the most expensive spice in the world.

Part of the reason for that is that 75,000 saffron flowers are needed to make a single pound of the spice.


Fugu

Fugu is a type of fish that is more commonly known as puffer fish.

It can cost $470 and is dangerous to eat if not prepared properly. Fugu is poisonous, and as a result, you need to prepare it properly to eliminate any poison.

Chefs need to be trained for three years to legally prepare fugu.

When cooked well and without spices, fugu has a mild flavor and is chewy in consistency.


Iberico Ham

Spain has some of the best and most expensive food in the world.

One of the most expensive foods from Spain is Iberico ham. It comes from the rear leg of black pigs. It is a delicacy that people travel to Spain to get.

There are two reasons Iberico ham is so expensive. First, you can only get it from black pigs in Spain. Second, it needs to mature for 24 to 36 months.

People spend up to $500 for a whole leg of Jamon Iberico. Fortunately, it can last for up to a month while vacuum-packed. So, you do not need to eat it all at once.


Bluefin Tuna

You might not think of fish as expensive food, but it can creep up there in price.

That is especially the case with bluefin tuna. Bluefin tuna can cost over $5000 a pound. There was once a 600-pound bluefin tuna that sold for $1.8 million in Tokyo.

People love bluefin tuna for its meaty texture and delicate flavor. Unfortunately, it is now an endangered species. As a result, the supply is limited.


Almas Caviar

When most people think of expensive food, the first thing they think of is caviar.

It has been a high-class food for decades, and as a result, the name itself is associated with high society. However, you might not know there are many different types of caviar.

One of the most expensive types of caviar is Golden Almas caviar. It comes from Iran and is known for its delicate and velvety taste.


Foie Gras

Foie gras is an expensive pate. It can be made from duck or goose liver.

When cooked, it can be fattened up to 10 times its regular size. People love it because it has a rich buttery flavor while remaining delicate.

However, you cannot get foie gras in every country. It is outlawed in most countries these days because of how it is produced.

The geese and ducks are force-fed corn through feeding tubes to increase the fat content in the birds.

Today this practice is considered unethical in most first-world countries, and as a result, there are laws against it.


Yubari Melon

Yubari melons are among the most expensive fruits in the world.

Once again, we have food from Japan. You may have noticed that many of the world’s most expensive foods come from Japan, and that remains true with this melon.

They come from the city of Yubari in Japan, and it is known for the flavor of these melons. These melons are popular because of their sweetness and sizable portions.

Unfortunately, you cannot buy these melons at low prices at your local grocery store. Instead, you will need to find luxury stores that sell them for $50 to $100. 


Vanilla

Vanilla is probably the most expensive item on this list. Vanilla is in most pastry recipes, and as a result, most people have used it at some point.

However, a vanilla pod can get very pricey. Specifically, Madagascar vanilla is incredibly expensive. These pods have a vanilla content of one to two percent.

This type of vanilla costs $600 a pound because it takes more labor to extract it. It needs to be done by hand, and vanilla flowers can only be harvested one day a year.

Furthermore, storms on the coasts of Madagascar have lowered the population of vanilla beans available for harvest.


Densuke Black Watermelon

The final item on our list of the most expensive foods is the Densuke black watermelon.

This melon is also from Japan, coming from the island of Hokkaido. They are pricey because they take several months to grow and need lots of space to grow properly.

Unfortunately, they are very rare, and as a result, you will never find them at a grocery store.

Instead, you need to purchase them at auctions. Densuke black watermelons usually sell for around $6000 at auctions.


Most Expensive Foods

  1. White Truffle
  2. Wagyu Beef
  3. Matsutake Mushrooms
  4. Oysters
  5. Saffron
  6. Fugu
  7. Iberico Ham
  8. Bluefin Tuna
  9. Almas Caviar
  10. Foie Gras
  11. Yubari melon
  12. Vanilla
  13. Densuke Black Watermelon

Final Thoughts

Buying expensive food all the time is not a good idea. Doing so can cripple your finances and put you in a bad spot. However, there is nothing wrong with splurging every once in a while.

There are some fantastic expensive foods out there for you to try. Notably, you can go to Japan to try many foods featured on the list above.

Learn more about food on our blog, like the spiciest foods from around the world!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.