Celeb chef David Chang (TV personality and founder of Momofuku restaurant group) extols “ugly delicious” food, but aren’t most of us shameless Insta-slaves—posting outrageous (or simply cool-looking) F&B on social? And what could be more outre than gold-foiled, gold-flaked or otherwise golden platings? Pure, 24-karat gold is without taste, chemically inert and thus a mere glittery traveler through the digestive system of life. Lest you think ingesting gold began in the Kardashian era, it dates to at least the Middle Ages, when royals showered gold flakes on banquet dishes to show off. And French pastry chefs have been adding a dusting of gold to festive creations for eons.
Prince Waikiki, Honolulu
Katsumidori Sushi Tokyo “harmonizes the flavors of Japan’s four seasons” at its first outpost beyond Japan, located in the lobby of this newly redone Waikiki hotel that overlooks Ala Wai Harbor. The Dragon Roll ($25) looks like the beast itself, an artful arrangement of unagi, shrimp tempura, maguro, avocado and salmon poke, garnished with flecks of gold leaf.
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Emirates Palace Camel Burger is a glittery play on the American classic, with its patty of spiced camel (“sumptuous,” proclaims the hotel website) topped by grilled halloumi cheese and pomegranate salsa and served on a gold-dusted bun. As if that weren’t enough, accompaniments include sweet potato fries also sprinkled in 23-karat gold. Try it on Hump Day; only $35.
Grand Velas Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico
Retailing at $25,000 at the resort’s Frida restaurant, the world’s priciest taco is a gold flake-infused tortilla filled with Kobe beef, lobster, black truffle brie cheese, Almas Beluga caviar and a salsa made with rare tequila and kopi luwak (coffee beans partially digested by a civet, a wild Asian cat). One such extravagance went for $27,960 in a charity auction.
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
OK, another sushi roll: But this one, at Sushi Roku at The Forum Shops at Caesars, costs $250. It’s an off-menu winner called High Roller Roll, a decadent mash-up of Wagyu Kobe beef, lobster tail, Osetra caviar, tuna and truffle oil—adorned, of course, in 24-karat gold leaf. Stellar views of The Strip come at no extra charge, and there’s a private dining room for up to 40 guests.