Japanese cuisine is considered as one of the finest in the world of high end dining. That is probably the reason why most establishments that serve Japanese cuisine like sushi and sashimi carry heavy price tags for their offerings.
But high prices are not only limited to Japanese food offered in luxurious restaurants. In numerous grocery stores in Japan there are food products sold at ridiculous rates. The reason, you ask? Well, what they sell on their shelves and aisles are not the common food products you’d normally buy in a 7-Eleven outlet. Exotic and unique, these 10 Japanese food products may or may not tickle your taste buds, but will surely make your wallet cry.
Priced three times higher than ordinary milk brands, Nakazawa Milk claims that their product has qualities no other brands can parallel. The harvesting process for the milk follows a strict routine – take the milk from the cows once a week at dawn. This process is aimed to ensure that the milk gathered contains more melatonin, a hormone which is deemed to have stress-relieving properties and can cause positive effects on people who suffer from anxiety and depression.
Kobe beef is insanely high priced, so it is only logical that a pizza topped with Kobe beef demands a hefty amount. If that is what you crave for, you can get it from Domino’s fast food chain of restaurants in Japan for $66.
Not for those who won’t dare to play with the Grim Reaper, fugu is a delicacy with a lethal side. If prepared wrong, fugu can be fatal. Made from the meat of the very poisonous puffer fish (blowfish), only certified Japanese chefs with adequate training and knowledge are qualified to prepare and serve fugu in restaurants. Only a small amount of toxins are left to ensure that the meal gives that numbing and tingling sensation. Despite its fearful reputation, fugu has become a popular and highly celebrated Japanese dish.
Square watermelons are product of Japanese ingenuity. Space is sacred to the Japanese people, so someone came up with the idea of growing watermelons and placing them in square containers made of glass. These glass containers are designed to follow the standard dimensions of refrigerators in Japan so that buyers can just slide the fruit in and not worry about space.
Once a popular Japanese food product back in the 80s and 90s, the production of matsutake mushrooms in Japan has dwindled due to infestation of its environment. Today, yearly yields of matsutake mushrooms are now less than a ton. Stemming from its rarity, as matsutake mushrooms are also seasonal products, price per kilo can go as high as $2,000 per kilo, depending on its quality and other factors.
Wagyu beef is one of Japan’s most popular products and ranks among the most expensive beef in the world. Wagyu cattle are raised in a very special environment to ensure that their meat achieves the desired quality set by its raisers. Wagyu cattle are massaged and often fed with sake and beer to enrich the flavor and improve the tenderness of the beef once the cattle are butchered.
Ruby Roman grapes are strictly grown in the Ishikawa Prefecture, where the climate and the soil allows the grapes to grow the size of pingpong balls. Premium class grapes must be red in color and each fruit must weigh over 30 grams, with the whole bunch tipping the scales at 700 grams. Introduced in 2008, grapes achieving the “premium class” standard come far and rare in between. In 2010, only six bunches managed to be declared premium class. This feat was not repeated in 2011 and 2012. In July 2013, only one bunch managed to meet the standard and was sold for $4,000 for the whole bunch. That means each grape was sold for $110.
These black watermelons from the island of Hokkaido are extremely rare as only 10,000 are harvested very year. Known for its very sweet taste and high levels of crispiness, many people would pay premium for these rare fruit. In 2008, a 17-pound Densuke black watermelon was purchased for $6,100, making it the most expensive watermelon ever sold.
Juicier and sweeter than ordinary melons, Yubari King melons are hybrids of two species of cantaloupes. Usually sold as pairs, Yubari King melons are also presented as gifts during Chugen or the Hungry Ghost festival in Japan. A top quality Yubari King melon flaunts a perfect round shape and very smooth rind. Most of Yubari King Melons are sold at $50 to $100 a piece. In one auction, however, a pair of Yubari King melons netted $26,000.
Toro is the fat-rich meat taken from the underside of a blue fin tuna. Commonly used in sushi, top grade toro comes from the underside near the head and is easily the most expensive item on the menu. Lesser grade toro, which comes from belly in the middle and back of the tuna, is less marbled and may be priced lower than its high grade counterpart but still demands a hefty price. The price of the toro sushi changes on a daily basis, depending on the market. But it is certain that a serving of toro will burn your wallet effortlessly.
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