From juicy melons grown in remote islands to salty roe from albino fishes, some of the world’s food ingredients are absurdly overpriced for good reasons (or not so good reasons). Truly among the salt of the earth (mostly in Japan), here are 15 of the world’s most ridiculously expensive food items you can buy.
1. Ruby Roman Grapes ($200-$300 per batch)
With each fruit almost the size of a golf ball, Ruby Roman grapes are the most expensive batch you can find in Japan. This grape is so rare that some years (including 2011), not a single grape was expertly certified to meet the top-notch standards.
2. Saffron ($2,000.00 a pound)
The world’s most expensive spice known on the market, saffrons are plucked from Crocus Sativus flowers and require a lot of time and patience to collect in abundance. Most grocery stores will offer a few strands of saffrons for up to $20.00, but it’s incredibly hard to find them in the bulk.
3. Wagyu steak
Known for it’s high amount of marbling and unsaturated fats, Wagyu steaks are mostly eaten by royalty and the fabulously wealthy. Only purebred cattle from Japan are bred for this beef and it’s reported to be the most pampered livestock in the world, feeding only on pure filtered water, along with the finest rice and maize. They are so well taken care of that they even receive daily massages! Those cows have it better than us (until the end).
4. Yubari Melon ($50-$100 per melon)
These melons are ridiculously priced for no other reason than it being a fad to buy limited fruits. Grown only in Yubari outside of Hokkaido, Japan, the melons have to be perfectly round with no rinds. Found only in a few selected high end grocery stores in Japan, you’ll have to be lucky to come across this weird trend.
5. Amedei Porcelana ($100 per pound)
Made into chocolate with only the rare white cocoa beans that resemble porcelain, Amedei Porcelana hails from Tuscany and is labeled the world’s finest (and most expensive) chocolate bar anyone can buy. This of course puts puts Willy Wonka to shame.
6. Hop Shoots ($1,000.00 per pound)
Long before they were used to create bitter beer, hop shoots were eaten straight up like ordinary vegetables. Asparagus-like (without the smelly pee aftermath), this plant is the world’s costliest vegetable you can buy. But if they make beer with it, it can’t be that rare, so why is it so expensive? It’s insanely overpriced since almost all hop shoots in possession and farmed are allowed to flower to make beer. Very few are used for the stems in farms, making it very difficult to find in stores.
7. Dekopon ($15 per fruit)
If the mandarin and a tangerine had a love child, it’d be the dekopon. These hybrid fruits are grown in laboratories or highly specialized greenhouses. It’s incredibly hard to find one outside of Japan or Brazil, but if you do stumble across one, buy it and try it. Not many people will be able to say they’ve tasted a dekopon.
8. Vanilla ($7-$10 per ounce)
Vanilla is the most expensive spice after saffron — the cultivation of this sensually smelling spice is a painstaking process and requires care and patience. Keep in mind, this is not the same vanilla you find in your ice cream or birthday cake (those are usually artificially flavored or heavily extracted). We’re talking about the real deal vanilla that comes in a long bean. If you’ haven’t tried it, you’re definitely missing out. Trust us, your Twistee Treat yogurt will never taste as good to you again.
9. Durian ($10-$20 per fruit)
While this fruit isn’t outrageously overpriced like the other food items here, it’s still quite costly for…well…just a stinky fruit. Love it or hate it, many people will cite that while the flavor is delicious, they absolutely cannot stomach the rotten turpentine smell that comes with the melon. If you’re at your local grocery store and you see a durian, chances are, it’s the most expensive item in the produce section for a single fruit.
10. White Truffle ($300,000 per 3 pounds)
Grown only in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, these white truffles are known for their rich taste and attractive white marbling. Because they’re incredibly hard to find and difficult to grow, buying these products in bulk is nearly impossible without breaking the bank.
11. Square Watermelon ($200-$230 a melon)
Tasting no different from other watermelons, square watermelons are popular due to being trendy, and of course, their unique shape. Watermelon farmers will place growing melons inside glass boxes and let nature take its course. Is it worth two-hundred bucks? We’re not sure, but the melons would make a great conversation piece.
12. Sekai-Ichi Apple ($20-$25 per apple)
This limited supply of unusually large apples found in Japan can measure up to 12-18 inches and tastes slightly different than your typical apple. So why charge so much? Well, because they can in Japan.
13. Almas Beluga Caviar ($30,000 for 2 pounds)
Don’t fret, wealthy people are not dining on the eggs of beluga whales (PETA would have a field day with that, wouldn’t they?). The eggs stems from rare albino sturgeons that are up to 60-100 year olds (who knew they live as long as us?) It’s reported to be a real delicacy, but we haven’t been able to get our hands on it.
14. Kopi Luwak ($100-$600 per pound)
Not many people will be too keen on sampling the world’s most expensive coffee beans once they find out the reason why it’s so pricey. If it tasted like crap to you, that’s because it’s literally civet droppings. When the exotic felines swallow the beans, their stomach will ferment the coffee and then defecate it (making it ready to brew). However, this process has come under scrutiny since PETA investigators found that Indonesian and Philippine farmers are heavily mistreating the animals for this purpose.
15. Densuke Watermelon ($100-$120 per melon)
Grown only on the island of Hokkaido, Japan, these watermelons are easily recognized by their highly unusual, pitch-black coloring. Only 10,000 watermelons are grown annually, making this produce highly sought after.