For many South Africans travelling abroad it’s a case of eating on the cheap. You’d think an omelette and fruit for breakfast, pizza for lunch and steak and mushrooms for dinner followed by a nice chocolate pudding for dessert would be affordable. Think again – this order could set you back as much as R735 500!
Here’s a look at some of the world’s most expensive foods. Ordering just a few of these rare dishes could cost the price of a small car and leave you with a serious case of indigestion.
Most expensive fruit
Densuke black watermelon – up to $6 100 (R67 100)
Black watermelons are rare, especially the Densuke variety, which are grown only on the island of Hokkaido in Japan. There are only a few dozen in a harvest and what makes the fruit extra special are its unmatched sweetness and perfect crispness.
Yubari king melons – up to $22 872 (R251 592)
A Yubari king melon. PHOTO: wikimedia.org
It might look like just another spanspek but these melons are sought-after for their distinctive sweetness. They’re also grown on Hokkaido. The most expensive Yubari king melon ever sold on auction went for $22 872 but a standard melon sells
for between $50 (R550) and $100 (R1 100) in Japanese department stores.
Most expensive vegetable
Mattake mushrooms – from $1 000 (R11 000)
Grown in Japan, China, Korea, North America, Canada, Finland and Sweden, the mattake (also called matsutake) costs between $200 (in good harvests) and $1 000 a kg (in bad harvests). The mushroom’s hefty price tag stems mainly from its rarity – it’s hard to find. The average annual harvest in Japan is less than 1 000 tons.
Most expensive meals
The Westin Hotel bagel – $1 000 (R11 000)
Served only at the Westin New York At Times Square hotel, this US breakfast staple has been jazzed up with white truffle cream cheese, goji-berry infused riesling jelly and bits of gold leaf. The most expensive ingredient is the white truffle, one of the most expensive food items in the world.
Zillion-dollar lobster frittata – $1 000 (R11 000)
This offering at Norma’s restaurant at Le Parker Meridien New York hotel takes the humble Italian-style omelette to a new level. The full version, with ingredients that include lobster and 280 g of sevruga caviar, has been sold only 12 times. A scaled-down version, which includes only 28 g of caviar, has proved a better seller – it costs $100 (R1 100) and is
ordered about 50 times a year.
Craftsteak’s wagyu ribeye steak – $2 800 (R30 800)
Wagyu skirt steak PHOTO: flickr user: ehfisher
Wagyu refers to several breeds of cattle from Japan known for the intense marbling of their meat, which is sought-after because of its high omega-3 and omega-6 content. The best-known breed is from Kobe, where cattle are fed beer and massaged to ensure the meat is tender.
Most expensive fast food
Le Burger Extravagant – ($295) R3 245
Le Burger Extravagant PHOTO: facebook.com/serendipity3
This burger from New York eatery Serendipity 3 is made with white truffle butter-infused wagyu beef, topped with Montgomery
Cheddar cheese, black truffles and a fried quail egg. It’s served on a gold-dusted roll spread with white truffle butter and topped with a blini, crème fraiche and caviar. Oh, and it comes with a solid gold, diamond-encrusted toothpick. Go figure.
Juuni ban hot dog – $169 (R1 859)
Juuni ban hot dog PHOTO: facebook.com/tokyodogfanpage
The Tokyo Dog food truck in Seattle, US, recently started serving the world’s most expensive hot dog (pictured above). It consists of a smoked cheese bratwurst on a brioche bun with gourmet toppings such as teriyaki grilled onions, maitake mushrooms, slices of wagyu beef, foie gras, shaved black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayonnaise. But it’s not really food on the go – those who fancy one have to order it two weeks in advance.
Domenico Crolla’s Pizza Royale 007 – $4 200 (R46 200)
Scottish chef Domenico Crolla’s Pizza Royale 007 is topped with steamed asparagus, hollandaise sauce, marinated fillet, Scottish salmon poached in Dom Pérignon Champagne, venison poached in Bollinger Champagne, giant king prawns, buffalo mozzarella, white truffle shavings, caviar and edible gold flakes.
Most expensive dessertsStrawberries Arnaud – $3,95 million (more than R43,4 million)
It might look like a simple bowl of strawberries and cream but there’s good reason for the hefty price tag. The strawberries are soaked in port, red wine, spices and citrus – but that’s not the reason. Created by Arnaud’s restaurant in New Orleans in the US, this dessert makes for a dream proposal thanks to the seven-carat pink diamond ring that goes with it. The
restaurant concedes it’s “our worst-selling dessert”.
Chocolate pudding – $35 000 (R385 000)
Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel's chocolate pudding. PHOTO: facebook.com/lindethhowehotel
This sweet treat from Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere, England, is made with the best quality
chocolate and served in an edible replica of a Fabergé egg. The pudding comes with Champagne jelly, caviar and edible gold leaf. And just to convince you you’re getting your money’s worth it’s topped with a diamond.
Italian white alba truffle – $160 406 (more than R1,7 million)
These are available for only a few months each year and found in only one part of Italy. What’s more, you need specially trained pigs to forage for them. There are said to be fewer truffles available each year, so this is truly a precious commodity. A huge white alba truffle weighing 1,5 kg once fetched a whopping $160 406 – more than R1,7 million. Almas caviar – $25 000 (R275 000) a kg This extremely rare caviar from Iran is sold only at the Caviar House & Prunier in London. It can be bought by the kilogram and is packaged in tins made of 24-carat gold.