These disgusting luxury products will make you glad you’re not rich
They say money can’t buy happiness, but you know what it can buy? All kinds of disgusting stuff. It turns out, luxury products aren’t always made from the purest and finest ingredients. Some of the world’s most expensive delicacies and beauty treatments are made from some of the grossest stuff you can imagine. From a cheese that’s made with live maggots to smearing snail slime on your skin, these so-called finer things will leave you gagging. Think you’ve got the stomach to learn more about what really goes into these luxury goods? Grab your barf bag and read on, if you dare.
Many costly designer perfumes contain a disgusting little secret. Ambergris, or whale vomit, gives Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy scents that je ne sais quoi. Also known as amber grease, ambergris is a waxy, gray substance that sperm whales produce in their stomachs to protect their digestive tracts from sharp bones and squid beaks.
Ambergris can be found floating on the surface of the ocean in areas inhabited by sperm whales. Many countries, including the U.S., have banned the sale of ambergris to protect whales from poaching. Recently, a smuggler was arrested in India with almost 3 lbs of ambergris, worth over $250,000.
NEXT: We’d rather have wrinkles than try this skincare solution.
2. Baby foreskin facial
Sandra Bullock has done it. Cate Blanchett did it, too. But even if every beautiful woman in Hollywood swore by this beauty treatment, we’d still be grossed out. Quartzy reports that these stars are just a couple of the rich and famous clients of celebrity facialist Georgia Louise who have gone in for the baby foreskin cell infused facial.
The treatment is made using stem cells taken from the foreskins of babies in South Korea. The baby penis cells contain a protein that is thought to shrink pores, smooth out fine lines, and fade dark spots away. We’ve heard of being smooth as a baby’s bottom, but this is ridiculous.
NEXT: This hard-boiled egg comes with an extra surprise.
Balut is one egg dish that’s not for the faint of heart. In the Philippines, balut is a popular street food, but it can also be found on the menu in some of the country’s fanciest restaurants. In the United States, however, getting your hands on one of these eggs could really cost you. Basically, balut is a fertilized duck egg, served hard-boiled and warm.
To eat it, you crack open the top of the egg with a spoon. Next, drink the liquid inside the shell which CNN Travel generously describes as soup. Then, you get to eat a partially-formed bird fetus. Many people recommend doing this part like a shot, all in one bite. Lastly, use your spoon to scrape the yolk out of the egg. We think we’ll stick to our sunny side up eggs, thanks.
NEXT: Most people go well out of their way to avoid this potentially deadly ingredient.
4. Bee venom
If you’re allergic to bees, or if the ending of My Girl left you scarred for life, you’ll happily save your money and refrain from buying into this costly beauty fad. Bee venom has been popping up in high-end beauty products, and celebs like Kate Middleton and Gwyneth Paltrow swear by it.
These gorgeous ladies aren’t just sitting in their gardens waiting for bees to sting them. Bee venom is collected by attracting bees to an electrified panel. The panel gives them a little shock, prompting the bees to sting so their venom can be collected, according to Refinery29. One jar of Rodial Bee Venom Moisturizer costs $200.
NEXT: You could probably get this expensive beauty treatment for free if you laid under the right tree.
5. Bird poop facial
We know what you’re thinking. “If I wanted to get bird poop on my face, I’d go on my sixth-grade class field trip again,” right? Actually, this pricey bird poo treatment uses droppings specially harvested from a very specific bird. Also known as the Geisha Facial, this treatment uses nightingale poop and costs $180 a pop.
The Daily Beast reports that the nightingales are fed a steady diet of organic seeds, which allegedly makes their poo especially nourishing for your skin. People who have received the facial have described the nightingale poop mixture as smelling like rice and being actually quite pleasant. We’ll just take their word for it.
NEXT: Don’t order this soup unless you know what you’re in for.
6. Bird’s nest soup
Bird’s nest soup is exactly what it sounds like, just much, much more disgusting. It’s made from a kind of edible bird’s nest, and the soup has been a Chinese delicacy for centuries. The high cost of the soup has earned it the nickname “the caviar of the east.”
Bird’s nest soup is made using the nests of swiftlets. These birds make their nests out of feathers and their own hardened saliva. The swiftlets’ nests alone cost up to $10,000 per kilogram, according to All That’s Interesting. A single bowl of this soft and gelatinous bird spit soup will set you back about $30 to $100.
NEXT: If the words “blood pancake” make your mouth water, you’re going to love this dish.
This Scandinavian meal can be pretty bloody expensive. Although blodplättar might look like a delightful crepe with chocolate in the batter, it’s actually made using whipped pig’s blood in the batter. The blood batter is then fried into a thin, crispy pancake. Basically, it looks like a dessert but it’s more like something a vampire would love to eat for breakfast.
Many of the fanciest restaurants in Sweden, Finland, and other Scandinavian countries serve their own variations on this blood pancake, and this dish does not come cheap. It is typically served with a hearty portion of reindeer meat, beef, or pork.
NEXT: This face cream is made using your own blood.
8. Blood cream
Our bodies know how to heal themselves, so why not give the process a nudge? That’s the logic behind this $1,400 face cream that Dr. Barbara Sturm makes using her customers’ own blood. First, customers have their blood extracted. Then, it is spun in a vial that simulates an injury to your body, which stimulates the production of healing proteins.
These proteins are added to the cream and, according to people who have tried the stuff, it really works. According to an Into the Gloss writer who tried it, the white, odorless cream worked wonders on her skin. She claims that acne scars and scabs healed quickly and disappeared and that her fine lines vanished.
NEXT: This classic French dish is supposed to be delicious, but it sounds like a stomach-turning nightmare.
9. Canard à la rouennaise
Like most things, canard à la rouennaise sounds way better in French. In English, this dish translates to duck in blood sauce. If you think the name is a turnoff, just wait until you hear how it’s prepared. Things start off pretty tame, with the whole duck being roasted until it is rare.
Then, it starts to get gross. The breast and legs are removed and these continue to cook. The rest of the carcass is put through a press, and the blood, marrow, and other fluids that come out of it are used to make a sauce for the remaining duck meat. According to Mashed, this dish will run you $75 to $125 if you order it at a restaurant, but why would you?
NEXT: Introducing the vilest cheese on the planet.
10. Casu marzu
If you think about it too hard, all cheese is kind of disgusting. It’s just moldy old milk. Casu marzu, however, takes the cake when it comes to nasty fromage. This Sardinian cheese comes with live maggots inside of it…and that’s part of its appeal. Although it is illegal to sell this cheese, casu marzu can go for $100 a pound on the black market.
According to a Vice writer who sampled this maggoty cheese, you have to cover your eyes while you eat it to prevent maggots from getting in your eyes. They said the flavor is similar to gorgonzola or Stilton, and you hardly notice the maggots once you’ve got it in your mouth. If you’ve got to try casu marzu, make sure you chew thoroughly and bring a strong wine to wash the maggots down.
NEXT: These old eggs look like something from a horror movie.
11. Century eggs
Also known as thousand-year eggs or millennium eggs, century eggs are prepared by preserving duck, chicken, or quail eggs in a mixture of clay and salt. The eggs are left in the mixture for anywhere from several weeks to a few months. Preserving eggs this way makes the yolks creamier, almost cheese-like, and makes the whites dark and jelly-like.
Legends say these eggs have been around for centuries, after being discovered in China long ago by someone who found eggs in a pool and decided to try them. Believe it or not, you can order these eggs on Amazon. Six eggs cost $15.
NEXT: This stinky fruit has been banned by some businesses.
Fans of Chopped or Top Chef have seen countless chefs scratching their heads when it comes time to prepare a durian fruit. This spiky fruit has a sweet flavor and creamy texture, but it smells absolutely horrible. In Singapore, the subway system has banned durians because of the stench, and many hotels and other businesses also forbid their guests to eat these smelly fruits.
One durian variety has made headlines for its high prices. The Indonesian J-Queen durian sells for $1,000 each, according to CNN. That’s a lot to pay for a fruit that smells like hot garbage and sweaty sneakers.
NEXT: The nasty ingredient in this beer will make you switch to plain old water.
13. Elephant dung beer
Grain, hops, and yeast weren’t exciting enough for these brewers. In 2013, the Japanese brewery Sankt Gallen introduced their beer Un, Kono Kuro made with a special new ingredient. The beer is brewed using coffee beans that have been picked out of elephant dung to add an earthy, coffee flavoring to the brew.
Fox News reports that the beer actually tastes pretty good. One taster said, “The combination of bitter and sweet stayed fresh and lingered in my head. It was a familiar aroma that accompanied me through the entire beer.” The beans used in Un, Kono Kuro are so expensive that a cup of coffee made from them would set you back $50.
NEXT: This Aztec delicacy is also known as Mexican caviar.
Escamoles, the edible larvae of ants, have been served in Mexico since the time of the Aztec people. The ants are typically found in the areas surrounding Mexico City and can be served pan-fried in butter, sprinkled into tacos, or on their own with tortillas and guacamole.
Though these baby ants can be found on the ground, the price of escamoles is anything but dirt cheap. These edible ant larvae cost between $35 and $100 per kilogram. Some of Mexico City’s fanciest restaurants, among the best restaurants in the world, love adding escamoles to their dishes as a nod to their heritage.
NEXT: This French food is a symbol of luxury, but it’s made in a truly disgusting way.
15. Foie gras
Fattened duck or goose livers, or as the French call it foie gras, has been a delicacy since the time of the ancient Romans. Geese, fattened on a diet of figs, were butchered and their livers were prepared with milk and honey. In modern times, the ducks and geese raised for foie gras are often fattened using feeding machines and a steady diet of corn.
Animal rights activists have taken a stand against foie gras recently, but the market for this fatty liver remains strong. It’s traditionally served as an appetizer with toast, but in contemporary creative cuisine, you might find foie gras on a burger or even stuffed inside a game hen.
NEXT: Feeling sick yet? This “medicine” might make you feel even sicker.
16. Frozen human feces
What if you got paid $13,000 a year just to go to the bathroom? A company called OpenBiome is paying fecal donors to poop in a vial for them. The company then freezes the poop and sends it off to help patients suffering from C. difficile infections. This bacterial infection of the gut can be very persistent, but apparently, healthy poop samples can help a patient finally beat the bacteria once and for all.
Not just anybody can donate their poop, however. OpenBiome co-founder Mark Smith told The Washington Post, “It’s harder to become a donor than it is to get into MIT.” Poop donors have to be exceptionally healthy, have good diets, and produce excellent stools.
NEXT: This Japanese treat just might turn your stomach.
Hachinoko look like tiny little worms, but they’re actually baby wasps. In Japan, you’ll find these little babies listed on the menus of fine dining restaurants. According to Mashed, hachinoko have a sweet and slightly smoky flavor, but with a texture that reminds you that you’re eating bugs.
Although bugs aren’t often thought of as food in Western cultures, they do have tremendous nutritional value. Insects like hachinoko contain tons of minerals and protein, plus they’re high in fiber. In Japan, many people also believe that eating bugs can help you live longer. The practice became popular during World War II when food was scarce but bugs were plentiful.
NEXT: This plant disease looks foul but fans say it tastes divine.
Huitlacoche, also known as corn smut or Mexican truffles, comes from a disease that grows on the corn plant. The fungus grows on the ears of corn during the rainy season and looks like large, gray stones attached to the corn. Many farmers consider it a crop-ruining pest, but the ancient Aztec people and other indigenous groups have eaten it as a delicacy for centuries.
A jar of huitlacoche sells on Amazon for $26.99. You can eat it raw or cook it and add it to many popular Mexican dishes, like enchiladas or tamales. Chef Joe Quintana tells Food Republic to think of huitlacoche as just another kind of mushroom.
NEXT: The world’s most expensive cup of coffee is so gross we’d rather switch to tea.
19. Kopi luwak coffee
Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is known as the most expensive coffee on the planet. Aficionados say the coffee gets its great flavor from passing through the digestive tract of the Asian palm civet, a cat-like mammal. That’s right, this is coffee that has been picked out of the litter box and brewed to perfection.
So, how does it taste? According to Business Insider, the civet coffee tastes bitter and too earthy for their tastes. Plus, there have been concerns over the mistreatment of civets used to produce the coffee. One cup of civet coffee can cost you up to $100.
NEXT: This medieval practice is as expensive as it is repulsive.
20. Leech therapy
We thought leeches were so 1300s until Demi Moore admitted that she lets leeches suck her blood. The star claims that leech therapy removes toxins from her blood and helps keep her looking young. The Daily Mail reports that before Demi attaches her leeches, she has to bathe in turpentine, which is the stuff artists use to clean their paintbrushes. It does not smell great.
A Medical News Today writer who tried leech therapy described it as being way better than they expected. Apparently, leeches secrete a numbing substance when they bite you, so you don’t feel their terrible teeth sinking into your flesh. However, you definitely still know there is a disgusting thing drinking your blood the whole time.
NEXT: If you like fresh seafood, this dish makes sushi look overcooked.
Fresh seafood is one thing, but sannakji takes freshness to another level. This dish consists of chopped up live baby octopus that is, and I cannot stress this enough, still moving. To eat sannakji, you have to wrangle every last wiggling and wriggling bite into your mouth.
The dish originates in South Korea and can cost at least $30 for a plate. The flavor is said to be quite mild, with a squishy and slimy texture. If you’re a daredevil foodie and have to try this dish, chew carefully. From time to time, people have died from choking on this dish as one of the suckers attached to their throat. Not how you probably picture yourself going out.
NEXT: This bird is so rare that eating it is illegal, but that doesn’t always stop the one percent.
The ortolan is a teeny tiny songbird from France, with a body roughly the size of your thumb. It was a favorite dish of royals and lavish foodies until it was outlawed in 1999. So what’s the gross part? It’s how the ortolan birds are raised that makes this dish controversial.
Ortolans are kept entirely in the dark, which causes them to overeat. The birds get super fat, making their meat tender and outraging animal rights activists. Next, the birds are thrown alive into a vat of brandy to marinate and drown before they are roasted. Traditionally, the bird is eaten whole, feet first.
NEXT: Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s sheep placenta?
23. Sheep placenta facial
Celebs like Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian, and even Harry Styles love this beauty treatment, but it makes us say, “ewe”. This flock of clear-skinned stars swear by sheep placenta facials to keep their famous faces looking young and fresh. It sounds pretty gross, and it’s not cheap either. A sheep placenta facial costs $500 each.
Skincare expert Louise Deschamps told Hollywood Reporter that the sheep placenta proteins are what makes the treatment so effective. “It is a protein base that is close to our own cellular make-up so the body is able to absorb and recognizes it as its own,” she says.
NEXT: You’ll never see getting ahead the same way after learning about this dish.
Smalahove is a traditional Norwegian holiday treat. While it was once a common lower-class dish, now smalahove can be found in the finest restaurants during the holiday season. This now-gourmet feast consists of a sheep’s head. First, the brains and ears are removed, then the head is seared on all sides.
Smalahove lovers say the best part of this sheep’s head delicacy is the sheep’s cheek meat. Since the Mad Cow outbreak of 1998, the EU has outlawed making smalahove from adult sheep, as these individuals may carry the virus. Today, smalahove is made using the heads of lambs.
NEXT: This slow food is coming out of its shell.
25. Snail caviar
When two snails love each other very much, they get together to make little baby snails. Apparently, this process can take seven hours to a few years to finish up. At the end of it all, the snails will deposit about 100 eggs into the soil. Long overlooked as a source of food for reasons of disgustingness, snail eggs are becoming an expensive treat in some circles.
Called escargot caviar, snail eggs can cost about $100 per ounce. Chef Matthew Dolan tells Star Chefs that he’s become obsessed with the little snail eggs, describing their flavor as mild and understated.
NEXT: Apologies to the molluscophobes out there, but we’re not done with snails just yet.
26. Snail slime
Fear of slugs and snails is called molluscophobia, and if you suffer from this fear you’re not going to like learning about this beauty treatment. Snail slime is a popular ingredient in many Korean beauty products, and slime lovers say that it gives them smooth, clear skin that glows.
It’s possible to get skincare products that contain snail mucus at drugstore prices, but it’s become a very popular ingredient in upscale brands, too. Immunocologie sells its Super 7 Elixir Face Serum for $300, and the main ingredient is slime. We suppose you could always grab some snails from the garden for free, but why would you want to?
NEXT: We’re headed for another terrifying dish.
27. Tête de veau
For a country with such a reputation for outstanding cuisine, the French sure do eat a lot of gross stuff. Tête de veau is no exception. In English, you’d call this dish the head of a calf. Basically, it’s what happens to a veal calf’s head after the animal has been butchered. Some restaurants serve the head intact, while others take the meat off the head and wrap it like a roast.
This dish often comes garnished with the calf’s tongue meat as an extra treat, if that’s the kind of thing you think of as a treat. At a restaurant, this dish will cost at least $20 to $30 for a plate.
NEXT: This spiny sea creature looks like a tiny little brain, and you’re supposed to eat it raw.
We’ve finally come to the item on the list that I’ve actually tasted! Uni is a kind of sea urchin that used to be only served in sushi restaurants, but it is starting to show up in unexpected places on creative, fusion-inspired menus. It looks like a jiggly little brain, and the texture is decidedly slimy.
Once I got up the courage to put the uni in my mouth and chew, I noticed a salty, seawater-like flavor plus a hint of umami. Unfortunately, I am not a lover of slimy foods and the texture was just too much of a turnoff for me. Uni typically costs about $150 for an 8 oz tray.
NEXT: This beauty treatment will make you bleed your own blood.
29. Vampire facelift
Pain is beauty, right? We can only assume that’s part of the thinking behind the vampire facelift. This procedure involves getting blood drawn from your arm and spun in a centrifuge to remove red blood cells. Then, the blood is injected back into your face using microneedles. The theory is that the white blood cells and other compounds that remain in the blood will stimulate repair and growth in your skin.
A writer for Hello Giggles tried the $1,300 facial, which was a favorite of Kim Kardashian’s, and said it made her skin breakout and gave her bruises. However, at the end of the day, she reported brighter skin after recovering from the treatment.
NEXT: This food practically invented being simultaneously gross and expensive.
30. White pearl albino caviar
Caviar sounds elegant and classy, which is why we call it caviar and not fish eggs. When it comes to being ridiculously expensive, white pearl albino caviar takes the cake. It’s collected from albino sturgeons who only lay eggs once they’ve reached the ripe old age of 100 years old. One tin of this stuff sells for about $9,000.
There is an even fancier version of the white pearl albino caviar. Strottarga Bianco is white pearl albino caviar minced up and cut with 22-carat gold leaf. It’s only available by special order, and it might just be the fanciest yet grossest food in the world.