The World's Rarest Soup Could Set You Back Thousands

Thanks to the internet, we're all very well-aware of the crazy-expensive foods enjoyed by the top 1%. You've got saffron, which BBC says is more expensive by weight than gold. You've got caviar, white truffles, and Wagyu beef. You've got foie gras. You've even got regular foods that have gold flakes thrown in for good measure, which is honestly kind of weird, but go off, we guess.

However, one of the most expensive dishes in the entire world is China's bird's nest soup. As you might expect, bird's nest soup is indeed made from a bird's nest, but not one of twigs. In fact, these swiftlet nests are actually made out of the birds' saliva. Tasty, right?

Once the nests are cleaned and strained, they create a gelatinous soup. Per Golden Nest, one popular recipe adds chicken broth, egg, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and tapioca to the nest. So just how expensive is a bowl of this unique soup?

Bird's nest soup will cost you a whole lot more than just a pretty penny

At this point, you may be wondering how much a bowl of bird's nest soup costs, if it's somehow more expensive than the likes of Wagyu beef. According to Travel Food Atlas, a single serving costs at least $100 with the birds' nests themselves costing anywhere from $2k to $10k per kilogram.

But why do these nests (and the soup made from them) cost so much? For one, the swiftlet population is fast dwindling, with "pickers" harvesting as many as three nests per bird each season, per Table Agent. As we've been seeing in the U.S. as of late, low supply and high demand means a bigger price tag.

Another factor is the difficulty of obtaining these nests. Tusker Trails has labeled this as "one of the most dangerous jobs in the world," as pickers have to scale cave walls without safety harnesses in order to harvest the nests — and then there's the matter of armed guards and even "private armies" sent to protect the nests. Yikes. We'll stick to an easy Chinese chicken and noodle soup recipe we can make at home.