National Hamburger Day is just a week away. We at GET.com are pretty crazy about burgers, not just because they're delicious, but also because they're a mascot of good value for money. Saturday, May 28, is the day to celebrate our national love affair with the best of the best.
Burgers are still an affordable lunch staple, but they've become much more than that. Michelin Starred chefs have taken this working man's food and turned it into a luxurious (and expensive) gourmet experience. What makes a luxury burger?
Well, take some Kobe or Wagyu beef from Japan, slather on some foie gras, add some French truffles, throw some Russian caviar on top and add an edible leaf made of pure gold and you're getting close. We'll get started on the cheap end of the luxury burger market with a burger that costs "just" $43 dollars and take it up from there to a much less delicious burger that costs $333,000 a patty.
Here is GET.com's collection of 5 of the priciest burgers ever made:
The 20 Ounce Kobe Burger - $43Photo by Nick Solares courtesy of New York Eater
Served at Old Homestead locations in New York, Atlantic City and Las Vegas, this 20-ounce Kobe beef burger is topped with chipotle ketchup and stone-ground mustard and runs up just a $43 tab, tip not included. Old Homestead also offers a 16-ounce filet mignon burger for just $32, if you're feeling cheap.
The Rossini - $60Courtesy of Burger Bar
The Rossini is the creation of Burger Bar in Las Vegas. Made of a blend of Kobe and Wagyu beef from Australia, sliced truffles, and a black sauce made from truffles from the Perigord region of France. The Rossini costs a mere $60, not a bad deal for all that juicy goodness.
The Caviar Burger - $75Image courtesy of Petrossian
The Petrossian has served caviar dishes since its founding in Paris in 1920. Now it has locations in New York, West Hollywood and the Bellagio in Las Vegas, although it's off-the-menu caviar burger is available only by request and normally costs $75. However, you can score this delicious burger experience for a lot less than that during special "happy hours".
Burger King's "The Burger" - $190Courtesy of Burger King
Served only at one of Burger King's locations in London (England), this burger deserves honorable mention even though it's not all-American. Made with Wagyu beef from Japan, pata negra, sliced cured ham from Spain, Cristal onion straws, rock salt from the Himalayas and mayonnaise made with shallot. When it was launched in aid of a charitable organization in 2008, "The Burger" set diners back a hefty £95 ($190 at the time), but all proceeds went to charity.
FleurBurger - $5,000Courtesy of Kirvin Doak Communications
Chef Hubert Keller seemed out to outdo all competition when he unveiled the $5,000 FleurBurger at his Fleur restaurant in Las Vergas. The Kobe beef, foie gras and black truffles that lent the burger its flavor definitely accounted for part of the price. But it's obvious this burger was more about a feel-good (or feel-rich) experience.
University Of Maastricht's Lab-Grown "Beef" Burger - $333,000
The most expensive burger to date isn't even a burger, per se. Costing $333,000 per patty, not including the cost of the bun, dressing and fries, the meat patty is made of lab-nurtured animal muscle tissue by scientists at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands in 2013.
The first people to eat the artificial beefcake were not millionaires, but volunteers. The flavor reviews were not glowing. If you want to be the next guinea pig, you'll be glad to know that the developers of this "burger" expect it's price to match that of real meat in the not-too-distant future.
The Big Mac Index
Burgers aren't just a practical and delicious meal or a way of showing conspicuous consumption. Hamburger prices can also be a useful economic tool. The Big Mac Index was invented by the Economist in 1986 as a way to compare purchasing power across countries and currencies.
In other words, how much are people in different countries willing to pay to get exactly the same thing?
With McDonald's franchises in nearly 120 countries, comparing the cost of a Big Mac can tell economists a lot about whether a country's currency is overvalued or undervalued.
As of the latest survey in January, the price of a Big Mac is lowest in Venezuela, where it costs just $0.66, and the highest in Switzerland, where the same big mac will cost you $6.44.
The U.S. strikes a happy medium. Americans normally enjoy a big mac for $4.20, although McDonalds regularly offers special deals.