Life of luxury: The most expensive foods in the world

Among the many indulgences of the ultra rich in the world, are the exclusive culinary delights. Chef Zubin D’Souza writes about some of the most expensive food ingredients in the world


Among the many indulgences of the ultra rich in the world, are the exclusive culinary delights. Chef Zubin D’Souza writes about some of the most expensive food ingredients  in the world

20160430eh28Sometime back during the much publicised ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the world had to face the harsh reality that we live in a world where there are stark divides between those who live in luxury and those that struggle to survive. There is no limit to opulence; no matter how well off you may be, there is always a higher level that you may realise is probably just out of your grasp.

With the pleasures of eating being placed on the same platform as other sensory weaknesses, there will always be critics to complain as to how expensive certain foods are. There is a reasoning that states that people have no compunctions paying millions of dollars for a few strokes of paint on a canvas where one can argue that an acrylic reproduction may look just as nice and cost a miniscule fraction so should there be a distinction between artistic food and quick-service-restaurant fare. I do know that theoretically, there are several of us who talk of some food that is worth dying for. I do enjoy good food, but there are certain limits that I would place on my indulgences.

Recently the BBC Channel 4 programme was in a bit of a soup because of angry viewers reacting to the ostentatious displays of wealth. There are people who would pay about 350 British pounds for a cup of civet poo coffee beans called kopi luwak which are considered the ultimate indulgence for people who like coffee. Now I don’t mind someone indulging in their favourite brew but then paying so much for something that dropped out of a wild cat’s butt is something that I just cannot fathom.

There are actually several restaurants in the world where they hastily assemble five expensive ingredients on a plate and sell it for the black market price of an O -ve kidney. I could opt for the gold flake speckled US$ 1,000 Westin Bagel or the US$ 4,200 Pizza Royale 007 which comes with caviar and cognac soaked lobster. There is a US$ 3,200 gold leaf crusted ‘Samundari Khazana’ that comes with lobster, caviar and quail eggs or the amazing US$ 1.6 million Strawberry Arnaud dessert that comes with a glittery ring set with a fabulous, flawless pink diamond.

Expensive ingredients

Among the most expensive ingredients is the Almas Caviar which is so sought after that it comes in its very own 24K gold tin. Extracted from the extremely rare Albino Sturgeon that inhabits the rather inhospitable Caspian Sea, the eggs are further aged for twenty years before making their debut on the shelves. The fish is known to live up to a 1,000 years provided it eludes the nets that are dropped to catch it. Judging from the fact that fewer turn up in the nets each year means that the price goes up further and the fish are getting smarter. At US$ 25,000 a can, this is one appetizer that can’t be topped!

Speaking of fish, we could try a slice of freshly caught Bluefin tuna that retails around an impressive US$ 7,000 a kilo which makes it a staggering US$ 700 for a 100 gram appetizer portion.


I was thinking of following that up with a salad made from a US$ 6,500 watermelon called the Densuke Black Watermelon. There are only about 30 of these perfectly round and all black melons that go up on sale each year and most of them end up getting sold in an auction. Alternatively, I could possibly dine on a salad made from the Yubari King melon which is a cantaloupe that sells for a price of US$ 12,000 each. They are much in demand for their perfectly round shape and their sweetness and a distinct hint of spice. Needless to state, there are not more than a hundred available each year.

Then there is the famous Ayam Cemani chicken which is a rarity in Indonesia and highly prized (around US$ 2,500 each) for being both beautiful and exotic. This chicken is jet black from the feathers to the muscle, meat and internal organs.


Being thirsty by now because of all my exertions over my dining options, I may choose to cool down with a bottle of 1907 Heidsieck which comes for a paltry sum of $275,000 and a killer of a story. These bottles were part of a cargo of an old shipwreck and only 200 bottles survived which makes them incredibly rare and ….incredibly expensive.

The ultimate dessert option however has to be the US$ 16,000 pineapple that is grown in….wait for it…The United Kingdom in the Lost Gardens of Heligan! Yep! You heard that right! The UK has been producing a limited amount of these pricey wonders that are grown for two years under piles of manure, hay and gallons of horse urine. Apparently they are so awesome tasting that you can almost ignore the dent in your wallet and the faint scent of horse that permeates the fruit.

(Chef Zubin is corporate executive chef, MARS Enterprises)

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