The time honoured first auction of the year at Tokyo's famous Tsukiji fish market usually sees lots of action from restaurants hoping to snag the prestige of making the winning bid. But 2015's top catch, a 180.4 kg giant bluefin tuna caught off Japan's northern region of Aomori, was sold at the relatively low price of 4.51 million yen (S$49,000).
It's still not a cheap dish of seafood at $279 a kilo, but it certainly pales in comparison to other first auctions at Tsukiji. We share the record bid below, as well as four other food items that will suit expensive tastes.
Bluefin tuna ($7,840 per kilo)
At 155.4 million yen, or $1.74 million, the winning bid in 2013 was more than 34 times the one this year. The price was driven through the roof by a bidding war that saw the Japan-based Kiyomura restaurant chain beat Hong Kong's Taste of Japan Group, reported Bloomberg.
The report added that Kiyomura could lose up to 154 million on the first tuna, which is considered auspicious, after the restaurant's president pledged not to inflate its prices because of the bid. A high price to pay for a good start to the year.
White truffle ($9,200 per kilo for the top tier)
Prices for truffles, of which shavings are added to dishes such as pasta and salads to enhance aroma and taste, range according to type and grade. According to a report from The Atlantic, white truffles are sold for between 2,000 euros ($3,200) and 5,000 euros a kilo, while top black winter truffles fetch between 1,500 euros and 3,000 euros a kilo.
This fungus is highly sought after by fine-dining restaurants as a mark of culinary quality. Unsurprisingly, the increasingly popular truffle fries are tossed with truffle oil - a synthetic product made to micmic truffle - and not the real McCoy.
Iranian Beluga caviar ($40,700 per kilo)
Another dish associated with fine dining, the tiny fish eggs are known as black gold due to their appearance. The roe is harvested from a rare breed of sturgeon from the southern Caspian sea and is commonly sold at 20,000 pounds (S$40,700) a kilo, according to the Guiness World Records.
The caviar is served on toast and not to be handled with metallic utensils as this may taint the delicacy with an unpleasant metallic taste.
Royal wedding cake of William and Kate ($10,000 a slice)
A slice of the wedding cake from Prince William and Kate Middleton's 2011 was auctioned off at US$7,500 (S$10,000) in December 2014. The slice came with a specially crafted tin box and a blank invitation to the royal nuptials. The cake, which took five weeks to make, was supposed to hit its peak flavour 13 months after it was baked, reported CNN Money.
If you think that buying a three-year-old cake isn't the most appetising of ideas, well, someone bought a slice of the royal wedding cake of Prince Charles and Princess Diana for $6,000 a few years ago when it was 27 years old, according to the Daily Mail.
Yubari King Melon ($39,236 for a pair)
These melons from Japan are sold in a pair and prized for not just their taste but also their aesthetical appeal. The best Yubari melons are perfect spheres and have evenly patterned skins with T-shaped stalks, according to Japan Today. They are used as luxury gifts for special occasions to friends and colleagues.
But in May 2018, a pair fetched a record 3.2 million yen (S$39,236) at an auction. The winning bid was placed by a local fruit packing firm at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in northern Hokkaido.
The AFP was invited to taste a slice in 2012 and described the experience as "at once sweet and refreshing and it’s hard to imagine how its flesh could be more tender".
In Japan, people often buy top-notch fruit such as melons for gifts, and virgin batches can fetch extraordinary prices, making national headlines and creating a lucrative market for fruit boutiques.