Good luck finding Chilean sea bass on the menu at your local Red Lobster. The dish can be incredibly pricey and is typically found only in high-end restaurants. What is it that makes Chilean sea bass so expensive, though?
Chilean sea bass became really popular in the 1990s
Chilean sea bass isn’t actually bass at all, and it’s not strictly limited to the waters off the coast of Chile. Mind-blowing, right? This rather ugly-looking fish was relatively unknown to seafood merchants prior to the 1970s and is a member of the codfish family (via The Daily Meal). It lives primarily in the deep waters off the western South American coast and its range can stretch all the way down to Antarctic waters. The actual name of this fish is Patagonian toothfish, and let’s be honest — that name is rather unappetizing. At least that’s what a fish wholesaler thought who eventually renamed it “Chilean sea bass” because of its white flaky meat.
Chilean sea bass makes a comeback (and it’s still not cheap)
Chilean sea bass fish fell out of favor with most restaurants after campaigns pointed out how its populations were under threat. Sustainable fishing practices eventually led to it making a comeback… somewhat. New York seafood distributor Louis Rozzo told Taste that “the demand for it is a lot less than it used to be.” This doesn’t mean that it’s about to be cheap anytime soon, though.
Ridiculously expensive foods you shouldn’t even bother trying
What is the world’s obsession with weird food, expensive eats, and combinations of the two? With all the delicious and penny-saving food available, why would people seek out the super expensive, the potentially dangerous, or the truly bizarre? Maybe it’s a sense of adventure. Maybe it’s a question of more money than sense — maybe they’re just trying to show off, or maybe they have so much money, they can’t think of a better way to spend it (we can help with that). Whatever the reason, some foods are very expensive and probably not worth the money, either because they’re costly for cost’s sake or because they’re truly bizarre and just kinda gross.
Bird’s nest soup
Although bird’s nest soup is notorious as a delicacy, and a pricey one at that, the nests that make it special reportedly have no particular taste. They’re just for texture. When you think about what you’re eating and how much it costs, is texture really worth it? To answer that, let’s start with what you’re really eating. The bird’s nest used in the soup is produced by a cave swiftlet. Swiftlets use moss, seaweed, feathers, and more to create the nest, all bound by saliva that contains mucilage, a binding protein that hardens when dry. People harvest these nests and can sell a pound of dried bird spit for up to $4,500 in Hong Kong.
Canard au Rouennaise
Admittedly, this classic French dish is rumored to be quite tasty, but you have to have an iron stomach to sit through the preparation process, and then you have to forget about everything you just saw. Invented in the 1800s, the “pressed duck” consists of a duck cooked rare and then put through a horror movie torture scene. The breast and legs are removed and the breast is sliced and placed over more heat, in cognac.