Most Expensive Food in the World – And Where to Buy It
Eat the Rich
Reportedly, the luxury food market remains untouched by the latest financial downturns. So in these belt-tightening times, let’s celebrate those foodie wallet-busting experiences that defy those tiresome words ‘credit crunch‘ and examine the most expensive food in the world…
The £400 dinner
If you can hack the months-long waiting list and actually find the place you might be granted the privilege of spending an average of £400 a head at Aragawa, a high-end small steak house in Tokyo, widely acknowledged to be the most expensive restaurant in the world. The menu is ridiculously simple, specialising in serving the best Kobe beef steaks (see below) grilled with pepper and mustard.
The f-off I’m rich dinner party ingredient
Caviar alternatives – bah! Don’t even go there. Keta, avruga and lumpfish just don’t count. There’s a sliding sale of how you should be chucking your cash away and it starts here. Caviar is the roe or ‘berries’ of the mature female sturgeon. Maturity can takes at least twenty years and over-fishing by Russia and Iran have made this rarest of ingredients even more prized. The Beluga is the one you want but like the latest ‘it’ handbag, stocks are so low, you won’t even get a price, just a place on the waiting list.
“Cattle are fed organic grain, sake mash and Japanese beer”
Ignoring all credit crunch wisdom which says ‘go for good quality sparkly or prosecco’ the really big showoffs are odering Krug Clos d’Ambonnay champagne. You don’t have to have a whole bottle though, at the Connaught they’ll sell you a single glass for around £800 – blingtastic!
Where’s the beef
When it comes to elevating the humble cow to a whole new plane, the Japanese have it sewn up. The top prized Kobe beef comes from Wagyu cattle which come from Kobe in Japan. The rich marbled flesh is produced by a mixture of diet and rearing practices. The cattle are fed organic grain, sake mash and Japanese beer and are regularly brushed and massaged in the hope that this will improve the quality of the finished meat. The result is so tender it’s often eaten in thin raw melt-in-the-mouth slices.
Piedmont in Italy is where you should head with your truffle dog (absolutely the best animal for detecting the underground treasure – pigs are likely to snaffle the treat before you get a chance to flog it). If you score big there’s a killing to be made from the most prized of the fungi family. In the last big sell off a specimen weighing 1.5kg sold for £165,000.
Ice ice baby
For those of us who feel vaguely ripped off by a mostly-air two quid My Whippy cornet, the likes of Manhattan’s Serendipity3 would have us running for the hills. Their Golden Opulence Sundae is made from Tahitian vanilla ice-cream, Amadei Porceleana chocolate and topped off with edible gold leaf. At £500 for 5 scoops it’s an extremely expensive way to get your sugar hit, and you don’t even get any hundreds and thousands.
“Beans are carefully passed through the digestive system of a civet”
Would you like a coffee to wash that down sir? How about a cup of Kopi Luwak? Produced in the Phillipines it’s 17 quid a cup; mainly because the beans have been carefully passed through the digestive system of a cat-like mammal called a civet. Apparently this is what gives the coffee its unique flavour and aroma which is prized by coffee aficionados. Just don’t ask for a crappucino – they’ve heard that one before.
The expense(ive) packed lunch
Selfridges really raised the bar on the butty when they launched a Scooby snack stuffed with truffle, fois gras, wagyu beef and brie de meaux. It might beat a tuna mayo on white sliced but at £85 a pop it should do!
Fancy a pint?
At £500 per bottle, Vielle bon secours is the most expensive beer in the world. Currently the Bierdrome in London is the only bar brave/stupid enough to sell it. Works out around £39 per pint – I think it’s your round . . .
The bling burger
And now even fast food giants are muscling in on the luxury act. Burger King launched their £95 posh burger last year in a bid to ‘distance’ themselves from their more common rivals, McDonalds. Utilising most of the ingredients from the list the wagyu/truffle/champagne ingredients rack up the bling factor. We’d still rather have a Whopper . . .
5 cheap as chips (but just as tasty) foods
The noughties will be remembered as the decade of pork belly. Restaurants loved it, gastropubs loved it, we all loved it. Slow roasted and served with garlic mash or braised in Chinese spices, it’s a cut that it’s hard to ruin. And the beauty of it’s cheapness is you can afford to buy free-range or organic and still get change from a tenner.
This time of year it’s possible to buy mussels by the bucketload and not break the bank. There’s only two rules when cooking – discard any that are open before cooking and after cooking get rid of any that stay closed. Steamed with white wine, garlic, all you need is a big plate of chips and some mayo for dipping.
Lamb neck fillet
Forget leg or the even cheaper shoulder. Lamb neck will give your casserole or curry tender, melting chunks of meat and the best thing is you don’t need to cook it for hours. Try it in an Irish stew or hotpot for ultimate comfort.
Now that cod and haddock are increasingly off the menu for sustainable reasons it’s good to see supermarkets getting behind lesser known and cheaper fish like gurnard and pollock. Dipped into a classic beer batter and deep fried, the firm white flesh cooks beautifully. Mushy peas on the side essential.
As the price of decent bread nudges towards the 2 quid mark, it’s worth remembering that the basic ingredients, flour, yeast and water, cost pennies. Invest in a decent starters bread cookbook and you’ll be knocking out loaves like Windy Miller in no time.