For those that enjoy fine dining and quality over quantity, here are some very luxurious food items to try at least once. From the finest caviar to rare white truffles this list of the most expensive food in the world features extremely rare and unusual fare.

The Most Expensive Food in the World

Read on to discover the world’s most expensive food. The items here are expensive ingredients rather than elaborate food dishes such as the zillion dollar lobster frittata, the Louis XIII pizza and Golden Phoenix cupcake – these will be the topic of another article!

The most expensive food in the world
The most expensive food in the world

20. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Made from unprocessed, cold-pressed olives, extra virgin olive oil is considered to be the healthiest olive oil. Rich in antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fat, this high quality oil has many uses.

Billing itself as the first luxury olive oil in the world, /lambda/ is an ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil from Greece. This multi award-winning oil is made with Greek Koroneiki olives by Speiron Co.

Handpicked from some of the oldest olive trees in Greece, the olives are hand picked and cold pressed. This olive oil is bottled and labeled by hand, and has an intense fruity flavor.

Presented in a handsewn leather pouch, this is the most expensive olive oil in the world, at $89 for 500 ml.

The most expensive olive oil in the world
The most expensive olive oil in the world

19. Oysters

200 years ago, oysters were a cheap bar snack, affordable by all. However, over-fishing reduced the amount of oysters available and they then became a luxury food.

Oysters were first cultivated by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. The merchant and inventor Caius Sergius Orata laid out artifical oyster beds in 97 B.C.!

These days, oysters are quite a costly food that’s generally eaten raw and served on a bed of ice. Coffin Bay King Oysters are among the most expensive oysters in the world. They take 6 to 7 years to grow, weigh one kilo and cost $100 AUD, around 77 USD.

An oyster platter is quite an expensive food dish
Oyster platter

18. Ayam Cemani Chicken

Known for its distinctive black feathers and beak, the Ayam Cemani chickens originate from Indonesia. Their unusual coloring is due to hyperpigmentation.

Ayam Cemani chickens are prized for their meat, which is very tender and flavorful. This is one of the most expensive chicken breeds in the world, with a single bird costing upwards of $2,000.

In restaurants, Ayam Cemani chicken can cost over $100 per pound.

Ayam cemani chicken - one of the most expensive food in the world
Ayam Cemani chicken

17. Goose Barnacles

Also known as stalked barnacles, these distinctive looking crustaceans live on rocks and flotsam. Gooseneck barnacles can only be harvested by free-diving or at low tide.

Due to this, they are among the most expensive seafood in the world. Native to the Eastern Atlantic, goose barnacles can be found in Australia, Cape Verde, France, Morocco and Spain. The most prized goose barnacles are from Galicia, Spain.

The cost of goose barnacles can reach $125 per pound. Gooseneck barnacles have quite a briny taste and its best to wash them down with some vinho verde wine!

Gooseneck barnacles
Gooseneck barnacles

16. Wagyu Beef

Juicier and more tender than traditional steaks, wagyu beef is known for its fat marbling and intense flavor. The word wagyu means Japanese cow and most great wagyu beef comes from Japan.

However, you can now also get fantastic American wagyu beef which gives Japanese wagyu a run for its money. The most expensive cut of Japanese wagyu comes from Matsusaka in Mie Prefecture.

These Japanese Wagyu steaks are from virgin female cows. The finest quality wagyu beef can cost up to $200 per pound. A Matsusaka cow fetched 50 million yen, around $400,000 at market in 2002.

Barbecue dry aged wagyu entrecote beef steak
Dry aged wagyu entrecote

15. Kobe Beef

Kobe beef is one of the most expensive food items in the world. The beef comes from the Tajima breed of cattle that is native to the Kobe region of Japan.

Only around 3,000 cows are classified as kobe each year. The cattle are raised according to strict guidelines and fed a diet that includes beer and grains.

This results in beef that is incredibly tender and flavorful. The very best Kobe beef can cost over $250 per pound.

Kobe beef from Japan - among the most expensive food in the world
Kobe beef from Japan

14. Vanilla

Surprisingly, the humble vanilla pod is one of the most expensive foods in the world. With a price of up to $600 per pound, vanilla is the most labor intensive crop in the world. Pollination must be done by hand on the one day that the vanilla flowers each year.

Not just any vanilla though, Tahitian vanilla is the cream of the crop. While Madagascar vanilla beans are the most commonly grown, Tahitian vanilla beans have a complex flavor with notes of cherry, anise and plum. When used in food such as Tahitian vanilla ice cream, they give an incomparable smooth texture and sweet taste.

Tropical storms have reduced the amount of vanilla beans on the market and prices are now soaring even higher.

Vanilla pods
Vanilla pods

13. Kopi Luwak Coffee

One of the most expensive coffees in the world, kopi luwak is also known as civet coffee. That’s because it is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and then excreted by the Asian palm civet.

While this may sound unappealing, the coffee beans actually undergo a fermentation process during their time in the civet’s digestive tract, resulting in a coffee with a smoother, sweeter flavor. Kopi luwak coffee is typically very expensive, but coffee lovers who are looking for a truly unique experience may find it worth the price.

Kopi Luwak coffee can often cost up to $700 per pound.

Kopi Luwak - one of the most expensive food in the world
Kopi Luwak coffee

12. Matsutake Mushrooms

The most expensive mushroom in the world, matsutake can fetch up to $1,000 per pound. These Japanese mushrooms have a sweet yet spicy flavor that can be an acquired taste!

One reason why they’re so pricey is that the pinewood nematode worm is destroying their natural habitat. The Matsutake mushroom is only harvested once a year.

The annual harvest is less than 1,000 tonnes. These mushrooms are best prepared with minimal seasoning to let their distinctive taste shine through.

Matsutake mushrooms from Japan
Matsutake mushrooms

11. Ethical Foie Gras

While traditional foie gras is highly controversial, the free range geese used for ethical foie gras are raised on family farms where they are free to roam. FoieGood and La Pateria Du Sousa are two examples.

The geese stop over in Spain on their migration to Africa and fatten up naturally to prepare for the flight. The animals are not given any hormones or antibiotics and there is no force-feeding involved in the process.

The geese eat a high protein diet of grains, which they voluntarily consume. Ethical foie gras costs up to $1540 per pound.

Migrating geese - the most expensive food in the world
Migrating geese

10. Pule Cheese

Often considered to be the most expensive cheese in the world, pule is made from donkey milk and goat’s milk. Pule cheese is native to the Balkans, where it is considered a delicacy.

This cheese is white and has a strong, pungent flavor. Pule cheese is also said to have health benefits, as it is high in calcium and protein. Extremely rare, this distinctive cheese is difficult to make.

Female donkeys, known as jennies, produce around 2 liters of milk a day, compared to up to 60 liters for cows. Furthermore, pule cheese is only produced in Zasavica Special Nature Reserve in Serbia.

That’s why a pound of pule cheese can cost up to $1,700.

A closeup of a grazing donkey in a farm field
A closeup of a grazing donkey in a farm field

9. Iberico Ham

You’ve probably heard of Parma ham from Italy, but did you know that Iberico ham is actually the most expensive ham in the world? Coming from the rear leg of black pigs, Spanish Iberian ham is a true delicacy.

These black pigs live in the wild and feed on acorns, or bellota in Spanish. The full name is Jamón Iberico de Bellota. Also known as Pata Negra, meaning black paw, this ham takes its flavor from the oleic acid found in the acorns.

Iberian ham is matured from 24 to 36 months. You can pay as much as $4,500 for a whole leg of jamón ibérico. On the plus side, the ham will last for up to one month once the vacuum pack is opened.

Pata negra Iberico ham
Pata negra Iberico ham

8. Elvish Honey

You may have heard of manuka honey before, however Elvish honey is an even rarer delicacy. In fact, it is the most expensive honey in the world at $6,800 per kilo.

Extracted by professional climbers from caves in northeast Turkey, Elvish honey is prized for its unique properties. Rich in antioxidants and minerals, this rare honey is thought to be immune-boosting.

A great source of energy, Elvish honey may also lower cholesterol levels and promote the healing of wounds.

The rarest honey in the world
The rarest honey in the world

7. Saffron

Costing up to $5,000 at wholesale prices and up to $10,000 per pound at retail prices, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. The reason is because it takes 75,000 saffron flowers to make one pound of saffron spice!

The saffron plant, known as saffron crocus, only blooms for one week a year. Harvesting saffron is a labor intensive process.

The good news is that a little saffron goes a long way. Rich in flavor, saffron can be used in risottos, paella and as a general marinade for fish.

There are numerous health benefits of saffron. This potent spice helps to prevent inflammation and may also improve mood and reduce PMS symptoms.

Saffron - one of the most expensive foods in the world

6. Fugu Fish

In a Japanese restaurant, one portion of fugu or puffer fish can cost as much as $470. That’s because this fish can be lethal if not prepared properly.

The fugu fish contains tetrodotoxin poison, and can only be prepared by chefs who have undergone three years training or more. Also known as tiger fugu, the fish has a mild flavor and slightly chewy consistency.

Fugu fish
Fugu fish

5. Black Watermelon

One of the most expensive food items, this distinctive fruit from Japan is also known as a Densuke Melon. With a sweet and crunchy taste, these watermelons come from the island of Hokkaido.

These watermelons need space and months of care, so less than 100,000 are generally available each year. Due to this scarcity, Densuke Watermelons can fetch up to $6,000 at auction.

They’re a prized gift at special occasions such as weddings in Japan.

Black Densuke Watermelon
Black Densuke Watermelon

4. White Truffles

No list of the most expensive food in the world would be complete without truffles. We’re not talking about chocolate truffles, but the kind that pigs dig up ;-).

Black truffles are known as black diamonds, however, white truffles are even more expensive. Found in the Piedmont and Tuscany areas of Italy as well as in Tuscany, these fungi are a popular delicacy.

To sniff out the tuber magnatum, or Alba white truffles, locals use truffle hogs or dogs such as Lagotto Romagnolo, an expensive breed of dog. Fresh white winter truffles cost from $6,000 to $10,000 per pound.

As they’re so expensive, chefs use white truffle sparingly. You can grate fresh white truffle on omelettes or use truffle as a delicious salad dressing. White truffle butter is a great kitchen ingredient to have to hand.

Albi white truffles
Albi white truffle

3. Caviar

Something of an acquired taste, caviar is expensive because fish sturgeon eggs have to be harvested by hand. However, virtually all sturgeon eggs come from fish farms.

Osetra and Beluga caviar from the Caspian Sea are two of the most pricey caviars. Golden Almas caviar from Iran is known for its delicate, velvety taste. It held a Guinness World Record as the most expensive caviar in the world at $34,500. This rare caviar can only be found in a few select establishments such as Caviar House & Prunier in St James’s, London.

However the priciest caviar is now Strottarga Bianco. Sprinkled with 22 karat gold, this albino fish egg caviar comes from the Siberian Albino Sturgeon.

A single teaspoon of Strottarga Bianco can cost as much as $37,000! In general, the paler the caviar color, the more expensive caviar it is.

Spoonful of Iranian beluga sturgeon caviar
Iranian Almas beluga caviar

2. Bluefin Tuna

Heading the list of the most most expensive food in the world is bluefin tuna. The hefty price tag can reach over $5,000 per pound. A 600 pound bluefin tuna sold for an eyewatering $1.8 million at Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo in January 2020.

Bluefin tuna fish has a meaty texture and delicate flavor. However, Southern bluefin tuna is critically endangered, Atlantic bluefin tuna is endangered and Pacific bluefin tuna is vulnerable. This is due to severe overfishing.

The Japanese MSC certified Usufuku Honten tuna fishery is the first sustainable alternative. They fish Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna according to an allocated quota.

Raw bluefin tuna sashimi
Raw bluefin tuna sashimi

1. Edible Gold Leaf

Edible gold leaf is made of pure gold and is safe to eat as long as it ranges between 22 to 24 karats. This expensive ingredient is actually tasteless.

Gold leaf can be used to decorate cakes, cupcakes, chocolate, and candy. It can also be used to make gold-leafed cocktails or in dishes such as the Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity 3 in New York City.

A gram of edible gold leaf can cost up to $169 and well over $15,000 per pound. This makes it the most expensive food in the world. Luckily, a little goes a long way and it can be found in specialty stores or online.

Edible gold leaf - the most expensive food in the world
Chocolate popsicles topped with edible gold leaves

Read these other features: The Most Expensive Cities in the US | The Most Expensive Metals in the World | The Most Expensive Diamonds in the World | The Most Expensive Cheeses in the World

Here’s a list of the most expensive food in the world:

  1. Edible gold leaf
  2. Bluefin tuna
  3. Caviar
  4. White truffles
  5. Black watermelon
  6. Fugu fish
  7. Saffron
  8. Elvish honey
  9. Iberico ham
  10. Pule cheese
  11. Ethical foie gras
  12. Matsutake mushrooms
  13. Civet coffee
  14. Vanilla
  15. Kobe beef
  16. Wagyu beef
  17. Goose barnacles
  18. Ayam Cemani chicken
  19. Oysters
  20. Extra virgin olive oil

Final Thoughts on The Most Expensive Food in the World

As you can see, there are plenty of foods out there that come with a hefty price tag. The world’s most expensive food items are all unique in their own way.

From the rarest meats to the most exclusive fruits, these foods will definitely leave a lasting impression (on your taste buds and your bank account). If you liked this article, be sure to check out our other food articles.

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The Most Expensive Food in the World
The Most Expensive Food In The World

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