22 Stupidly Expensive Foods You Won't Believe Ever Existed

Chicago hot dog on a poppy seed bun


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Empire Steak House 24 Karat Gold Turkey
Empire Steak House

Work Up a Haughty Appetite

Sure, there are some status-symbol foods out there, like expensive champagne, high-end caviar, or Costco’s 72-pound wheel of imported cheese. But would you pay $200 for French fries dusted in truffle salt? How about $2,500 for a holiday turkey covered in 24-karat gold leaf? These not-so-humble dishes have made it onto menus across the country and around the world, complete with price tags that may get even Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk to bat an eyelash. 

Related: Foods That Sold for Big Money at Auction

Hot Coffee from a French Press

Cup of Coffee: $75

Most of us mere mortals grab a cup of joe for $1 from McDonald’s, or spend $4 for a latte at Starbucks when we’re feelin’ fancy. But in San Francisco, Klatch Coffee Roasters sold cups of coffee for $75 each in 2019, and — incredibly — they quickly ran out. The shop had snagged some luxe coffee beans from Panama that sold for $803 a pound, and it was the only coffee joint in the U.S. to offer the pricey brew.

Related: Crazy Coffee Products From Around the World

Caramel Cappuccino hits coffee

Milkshake: $100

In honor of the overly specific (but apparently real) National Vanilla Milkshake Day, New York City’s Serendipity 3 sold what it dubbed the “LUXE Milkshake” in 2018. Made from Tahitian vanilla ice cream, high-fat Jersey milk, clotted cream, and vanilla beans from Madagascar, it was garnished with edible gold, whipped cream, Venezuelan cocoa sauce, Italian hazelnuts, and a Maraschino cherry straight from Italy. It was even served in a Swarovski-studded glass. 

Related: The Best Milkshakes in Every State

For more fun food trivia,
please sign up for our free newsletters.

Philly cheese steak sandwich. Sandwich. Classic American sandwich with ham, turkey, crispy Bacon, melted Swiss & cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, on a toasted brioche bun and served with crispy French fries. American Bar food favorite.

Cheesesteak: $120

We’re pretty sure spending over $100 on a single cheesesteak would get you beat up in much of Philadelphia, but that didn’t stop the city’s Barclay Prime steakhouse from creating a luxury version of the iconic sandwich in 2018. On your delicate sesame roll: Wagyu beef, foie gras mousse, truffle butter, truffles, and Caciotta al Tartufo, a semi-soft Italian cheese that is itself infused with truffles (we’re sensing a theme here). One thing’s for sure: No Cheez Whiz need apply.

Related: Legendary Restaurant Rivalries Across America

Closeup of Kimchi soup with ribs and eggs

Ramen: $180

Ah, ramen. It’s easy, it’s filling, it’s cheap, and it’s beloved by poor college students and busy bachelors everywhere. But we’re guessing they weren’t the target market for the Kobe Wagyu Ramen created by a chef at a New York City noodle bar, Koa, in 2016. The broth combined dried shrimp and scallops, pork, chicken, and dried Kombu seaweed, and it was served with green and white asparagus and Kobe Wagyu steak garnished with gold leaf and truffles.

Related: 15 Hacks to Make Instant Ramen More Delicious Under $1

Close-up of French Fries on table in pub
Enes Evren/istockphoto

French Fries: $200

This summer, Serendipity 3 returned to the luxury-food game with an unlikely candidate: Ultra-pricey fries, in honor of National French Fry Day. The so-called Creme de la Creme Pommes Frites were made from potatoes blanched in Dom Perignon and cooked in pure goose fat. They were seasoned with hand-harvested truffle salt, tossed in truffle oil, and topped with shaved Pecorino Tartufello cheese and black truffles. Of course, they were also served on a crystal plate and dusted with edible gold. Pro tip: Don’t ask for ketchup. 

Related: The Most Outrageous French Fries You Can Order

Grilled cheese sandwich with ketchup
Healthy Buttered Popcorn with Salt

Popcorn: $250

And here we thought that a $5 bag of movie popcorn was expensive. Berco’s aptly named Billion Dollar Popcorn definitely gives it a run for its money: A single kernel will set you back $5, and a 1-gallon tin sells for $250. Helping justify the spend: It’s made with organic sugar, Vermont butter, Nielsen-Massey bourbon vanilla, gourmet Danish sea salt, and edible gold flakes. 

Crab Cake

Crab Cake: $310

Granted, a good crab cake isn’t all that cheap, but $310? The Twist restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina, unveiled the world’s most expensive version of the classic dish in 2019, dubbing it the Platinum Crab Cake. True to its name, it featured platinum leaves and platinum dust, king crab meat, lump crab meat, and black truffles. Proceeds from the exorbitant dish went to a good cause: a charity that helps local teachers.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Peanut Butter and Jelly: $350

It was only a matter of time before someone made this cheap, cheerful childhood classic into a ridiculous status symbol, and that honor goes to the appropriately named PB&J (that is, Pizza, Beer & Jukebox) in Chicago. The sandwich, dubbed the Golden Goose, must be ordered a day in advance, and thankfully, proceeds go to charity. The bread includes gold-dust flower and gold-leaf topping, a ridiculously expensive French jam, premium Manuka honey from New Zealand, and all-natural peanut butter. 

Related: Things You Didn’t Know About Peanut Butter and Jelly

truffle soup

Soup: $688

Ah, Vegas: Where else could you have the privilege of ordering a $700 bowl of soup made with — wait for it — caterpillar fungus? The Cosmopolitan’s Cordyceps soup features a rare Himalayan fungus that grows only at altitudes higher than 12,500 feet and sells for (gulp) roughly $45,000 a pound. Why the high price tag? It supposedly helps fight everything from aging to cancer. It’s even been called the “Viagra of the Himalayas.” Definitely gives new meaning to the slogan “mmm mmm good.”

Related: Bucket List Restaurants in Las Vegas

Hot and Spicey Buffalo Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings: $1,000

We’re not sure who decided that this staple of game-day noshing needed to be gourmet, but $1,000 chicken wings are indeed a thing. The Ainsworth in New York City serves Foodgod 24 Karat Wings, which are completely covered in 24-karat gold flakes. A plate of 50 is served with a bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne.

Related: The Best Chicken Wings Spot in Every State


Doughnut: $1,685

Krispy Kreme has been giving out free doughnuts to vaccinated patrons all year, but believe it or not, it can also lay claim to the world’s most expensive doughnut. In 2014, a Selfridges department store in London sold a Krispy Kreme for $1,685. It included champagne-infused jelly (Dom Perignon, of course), gold-dusted chocolate flowers, 24-karat gold leaf, and edible diamonds. It was served with a cocktail made with Courvoisier, and yet more Dom.

Related: Things You Didn’t Know About Krispy Kreme

Sushi fuyu

Sushi: $2,000

Quality sushi can indeed be a splurge, but would you pay close to $2,000 for five pieces of nigiri? A Manila-based chef, Angelito Araneta Jr., makes a record-holding dish called Sushi Del Oriente that features pink Norwegian salmon and foie gras wrapped with gold leaf and topped with pearls and even real diamonds. Next time, maybe that date-night omakase might not seem like such an indulgence.

Related: This Is the Best Sushi Restaurant in Your State

hot dog with french fries on red check table clothes

Hot Dog: $2,300

Sure, you could go to Costco and grab that famous $1.50 hot dog-and-drink combo, but that would require too much mingling with the unwashed masses. In 2012, the ultra-rich could instead head to New York’s rooftop 230 Fifth restaurant for a $2,300 frank. It consisted of marbled, truffle-infused Wagyu beef that was brushed with white truffle butter and topped with saffron-infused ketchup and French mustard. There were also onions cooked in Dom Perignon and 100-year-old balsamic, plus homemade sauerkraut mixed with pricey caviar, high-end relish, and gold leaf. Thankfully, proceeds went to charity.

Related: Where to Order the Most Extreme Hot Dogs Across the Country

Empire Steak House 24 Karat Gold Turkey
Empire Steak House

Turkey: $2,500

When a restaurant's motto is "dine like an emperor," you know there's going to be some outrageous stuff going on. New York City's Empire Steak House recently served up Thanksgiving turkeys covered in 24-karat gold leaf, and one of them could have been yours for a measly $2,500. The restaurant behind the ridiculous bird claimed the flashy feast would "amaze diners" — but whether that's a good or bad thing is an open question. 

RelatedWhat Thanksgiving Looked Like When You Were Growing Up

Zucchini and onion bake

Souffle: $2,500

It’s notoriously difficult to cook a good souffle, but for $2,500, it better be a transcendent experience, indeed. At New York’s Petrossian, this off-menu selection — the appropriately named Secret Souffle — includes 30 grams of Royal Reserve Ossetra caviar, quail eggs, and gold leaf. Marinated in applewood smoke, it’s then doused in a couple of ounces of flaming Richard Hennessy cognac, giving any old Bananas Foster a run for its money.

Juicy steak medium rare beef with spices on wooden board on table
Sergey Nazarov/istockphoto

Steak: $3,200

There’s nothing quite like a tender, melt-in-your-mouth steak, and we all know that the best cuts of beef can indeed get pricey. But how about a steak “you barely need a knife to cut,” sold at the eye-popping price of $3,200. The meat, aged a whopping 15 years using an oddly complex method of meat hibernation, comes from a sixth-generation butcher in northeastern France. As for the cattle, they’re free-range ​​Blonde d’Aquitaine who get “five-star accommodation” until the day they meet their maker.  

Related: The Most Expensive Steaks You Can Order

Cheesecake slice with strawberries

Cheesecake: $5,000

Cheesecake Factory, eat your heart out. Chef Raffaele Ronca of New York’s Rafele Ristorante in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village has made a $450-a-slice creation that’s rich in more ways than one. In it: Fresh formaggio from pampered Italian water buffalo, 200-year-old cognac, vanilla from Madagascar-grown vanilla beans, and white Italian truffles that sell for around $4,000 a pound. The crust: His grandmother’s biscotti recipe, layered with ground hazelnuts and melted chocolate. On top: Fresh honeycomb, the restaurant’s gold-leaf logo, and sparklers. Because when you dig into a $5,000 cheesecake, you want everyone else in the restaurant to know it. 

Tasty burgers on wooden table

Burger: $6,000

Just in case you’re curious, you could buy roughly 1,200 Big Macs for $6,000 — or one “Golden Boy” burger made at De Daltons in Voorthuizen, Netherlands. The patty consists of Wagyu and chuck short ribs, and the toppings include white truffles, onion rings made with Dom Perignon-infused batter, top-quality Spanish ham, Beluga caviar, and king crab. But the real show stopper is the gold-leaf bun, also infused with Dom. Proceeds go to charity, which we can’t say for the Big Mac. 

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Burger Joint in Every State

Supreme Pizza Slice lift

Pizza: $9,800

Now that we’re approaching a cool 10K, the meal comes to you. Master pizza chef Renato Viola brings his Louis XIII pie, made with organic flour, Australian pink salt, three kinds of caviar, prawns, lobster, mantis shrimp, and organic mozzarella, right to your home. It's served with a prestigious cognac and champagne (Remy Martin Cognac Louis XIII and Champagne Krug Clos Du Mesnil 1995) by a team of three: Viola, a sommelier, and another chef. The bill? A mere 8,300 euros, or a bit under $10,000. 

Related: Surprising Facts About Pizza, America’s Favorite Comfort Food

Ice cream sundae in big bowl

Sundae: $25,000

For its final entry on this list, Serendipity 3 went all out not only with the world’s most expensive sundae, but its most expensive dessert. In 2007, it added the Frrrozen Haute Chocolate to the menu, charging a mind-boggling $25,000 for the treat (if that won’t cause an ice-cream headache, we don’t know what will). Fourteen of the 28 included cocoas were among the world’s priciest, and the sundae was garnished with 5 grams of edible gold. At the base of the sundae was an 18-karat gold bracelet embellished with 1 carat of white diamonds. Buyers also got to take home quite a souvenir: the gold-and-diamond spoon.   

Related: Indulgent Ice Cream Sundaes Across America

hard shell taco on wooden cutting board

Taco: $25,000

Is nothing sacred? (No.) Even the humble taco — the epitome of cheap, easy, delicious food for the masses — got a ridiculously luxe makeover in 2017 at Mexico’s Grand Velas Los Cabos resort. Layered inside the gold-infused taco shell: lobster, Kobe beef,  $100-an-ounce black truffle Brie, and $700-an-ounce Beluga caviar. No need for sour cream: It’s all topped off with more layers of edible gold. The creation was only available to the resort’s presidential suite guests, and they had to put down a $12,500 taco deposit — yes, a taco deposit — to secure their meal.