The World’s Most Expensive Salt
Sometimes referred to as the “fifth element,” salt is not only necessary for life, it’s used all over the world and is an indispensable part of any dish.
In the words of renowned chef Ferran Adrià, “salt is the only product that changes cuisine”. Currently, there’s a huge surge of interest in salt, and chefs everywhere are experimenting with artisanal varieties from around the globe.
“Salt is born of the purest of parents: the Sun and the Sea.”Pythagoras
If you’ve only been using two types of salt – table and perhaps sea salt, it may be time to up your salt game!
To guide you, in this article, we list some of the world’s rarest and most expensive salts that will elevate any dish to inspire you to experiment and introduce complex new flavors to your creations.
And, although the prices may seem eye wateringly high, remember that most are used as ‘finishing salts.’ So they’re sprinkled onto the food before serving, a little goes a long way, and salt has no expiry date.
Do you know of a rare salt that isn’t listed? Share your ideas in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!
1. Amethyst Bamboo 9x Korean Sea Salt
Price: $43.75 per once ($153 per 100g)
This highly-prized salt starts life as coarse, gray sea salt. It’s prepared by placing it in bamboo cylinders and yellow clay, then kiln-roasting it in a pinewood-fuelled oven at almost 800° C (1,450° F).
The bamboo and clay are incinerated, leaving just the salt. This intricate roasting process is repeated 9 times until the salt turns pink and takes on hints of the pinewood, clay, bamboo, and the iron of the furnace.
With its intense and complex flavor, it is used in cooking and to finish dishes. It’s also claimed to have powerful medicinal properties and to stimulate Chi or life force.
2. Korean Oyster Bamboo
Price: $23.75 per once ($83 per 100g)
This dark, purplish-black sea salt goes through a similarly labor-intensive process to that of Amethyst Bamboo Salt and takes up to 45 days to ‘cure’. This is also the reason why Korean bamboo salt is one the most expensive salts in the world. You pay not onlyfor the exquisite flavor, but also for everything that goes into producing it.
Although only produced in Korea, it is prized all over Asia, not simply as a culinary ingredient but also for its supposed medicinal qualities. Compared to most other salts, it is rich in iron, potassium, and calcium.
3. Hana Flake Japanese Sea Salt
Price: $14.4 per oz ($50 per 100g)
This beautiful ice-white salt comes in the shape of a flattened pyramid, with delicate flakes that glisten in the sunlight – like pristine arctic snow. Hana Flake is used to season a range of Japanese dishes but is also a perfect complement for salads and steamed vegetables. It makes a stunning garnish for cocktails.
It is currently available for purchase on the Meadow, but only as part of an exquisite set of premium sea salts. Needless to say, the sea salt set is anything but cheap.
4. Kamebishi Soy Salt
Price: $12.8 per oz ($45 per 100g)
Unlike more traditional salts dating back hundreds of years, soy salt is a relatively modern invention. With a complex mix of flavors, it’s used in Japan to add interest to all types of food, including fish, vegetables, and eggs. Fans describe it as sea-weedy and even yeasty with a strong umami bite.
Kamebishi soy salt is produced in a traditional 254-year-old family-owned Japanese brewery. Japanese chefs who specialize in French and Italian food in Japan developed the idea of transforming liquid soy into flakes.
They wanted to integrate Kamebishi’s shoyu (soy sauce) in their preparations without the risk of their creations being labeled “fusion” or “Japanized”.
5. Saffron Salt
Price: $12.7 per oz ($44 per 100g)
At around $2,500 per pound, pure saffron is a true luxury and the most expensive spice in the world. The price is no surprise, given the labor-intensive process of hand-harvesting the stamens from rare crocus flowers.
Even when this most precious ingredient is combined with carefully produced sea salt to create a more cost-effective product, it still commands an eye-watering price tag. However, fans will claim that once you’ve tried it, nothing else comes close to the elegant and fragrant aroma it adds to any dish.
As well as being an indispensable part of any tagine, it adds complexity to fish, rice, eggs, vegetables, lamb tagine, chicken, and even Bloody Marys.
To ensure you’re getting the real thing, check out the ingredients. While it should only contain sea salt and aromatic saffron, cheaper blends add turmeric to give a distinctive color while cutting the cost of production. Don’t get caught out!
6. Takesumi Bamboo Japanese Salt
Price: $12.00 per oz ($43 per 100g)
Takesumi Bamboo is blackened, deep sea salt with a texture unlike any other. It doesn’t so much melt in the mouth as fizz, like a can of soda that you’ve just given a good shake. The experience is sometimes compared to eating ‘little volcanoes’.
This unusual and versatile salt can finish and add a surprising twist to virtually any type of dish, from barbecued meats, grilled fish, sushi, stir-fries, or tropical fruit.
7. Kilauea Onyx
Price: $8.33 per oz ($30 per 100g)
Kilauea Onyx salt has a deep black color and a unique silky texture.
The sea salt is dried under the sun, together with purified black lava rock, which adds minerals. These are combined with activated charcoal, which provides color and increases the detoxifying effect. All this happens under the supervision of certified salt masters, who are entrusted with maintaining the ancient Hawaiian tradition of salt-making.
This eye-catching condiment can be used to finish anything from grilled fish to fruit salads. It makes a great conversation starter and offers a complex flavor that’s hard to pin down.
8. Bora Bora Sea Salt
Price: $7.54 per once ($26 per 100g)
From the remote tropical island of Bora Bora comes an environmentally friendly salt produced manually from the pristine Pacific waters and dried by the sun and the wind.
With its delicate flavor, this versatile, all-natural product can finish a wide range of dishes.
9. Iburi Jio Cherry Smoked Salt
Price: $5.70 per oz ($20 per 100g)
Extracted from 2-3,000 feet under the sea, it’s not only the purity of this salt that makes it unique. Iburi Jio Cherry Smoked Salt has a subtle, almost bacon-like flavor that comes from a three-day, labor-intensive process of cold-smoking in cherry wood.
It’s a beautiful creamy beige color and can be used to add complexity to a wide range of dishes. It makes a great partner for a good whiskey, or even sprinkle a few grains on top of your next luxury ice cream.
10. Icelandic Lava Salt
Price: $4.09 per oz ($14 per 100g)
Are you bored with sea salt? Then this Icelandic salt may be what you need because the country’s volcanic lava rocks add charcoal to the local seawater. Not only does this give the salt an unexpected color, it means it’s packed with additional health benefits.
Prized as a natural detoxifier, it’s fantastic for skin problems, digestive issues, and metabolism. In addition, lava salt contains high levels of the minerals our bodies need – which may be lacking in our modern diet.
Only a tiny quantity is produced yearly, and as some of the world’s greatest chefs are fans, prices continue to rise.
11. Blue Persian Rock Salt
Price: $3.43 per oz ($12 per 100g)
This incredible salt, formed under pressure from the rocks around it, and looking like something out of a fairy tale, is mined deep underground in northern Iran.
It’s a clean salt nestled for tens of thousands of years under Earth’s surface, protected from pollutants and contaminants. It is rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium.
The stunning blue color is an optical illusion as light is refracted through the salt crystals. So use it sparingly to finish a range of dishes – and astonish your guests with your creativity.
12. Black Truffle Salt (Tartufo Nero)
Price: $3.4 per once ($12 per 100g)
While some people cannot cope with the overpowering fragrance, black truffles have long been considered a luxury ingredient, prized by gourmets. They are also very, very expensive.
However, just a pinch of truffle salt can transform the most mundane dish into something magical – sprinkle a few grains onto a grilled cheese sandwich, making it unique and unforgettable. It also adds excitement to pasta, rice, or egg dishes.
More than that, it is reputed to add a certain sparkle to your love life, as the musky aroma has properties that enhance attraction. And as black truffles are packed with antioxidants and stimulate the production of collagen, a few grains are not only good for your health, they may even help keep your skin wrinkle-free!
You can find a few different brands selling black truffle salt on Amazon.
13. Asin Tibuok aka Dinosaur’s Egg (Philippine Sea Salt)
Price: $2.83 per oz ($10 per 100g)
This earthy sea salt from the Philippines is produced using an ancient technique – heating it in an earthen vessel over an open fire. The fact that it’s commonly known as dinosaur egg salt gives a clue about the shape it comes in, and it’s served by shaving a few grains off and using them to dust the finished dishes.
14. Oshima Island Blue Label Salt
Price: $1.66 per oz ($6 per 100g)
This spectacular blue salt is one of the rarest in Japan. It originates from the tiny Japanese island of Oshima, located in the middle of the pristine waters of the Pacific.
This seawater is collected on trays and dried in the open air, using only the sun’s heat. Nothing is added or removed, so it remains completely pure.
Like most of these premium salts, it is better used to finish off dishes. The flaky grains are crunchy, with an elusive sweetness.
15. Amabito No Moshio (Ancient Japanese Seaweed Salt)
Price: $1.30 per oz ($4.5 per 100g)
This rare and expensive salt is produced only in Japan. Amabito No Moshio goes through a rigorous refining process. After being extracted from the unpolluted inland Seto sea, it is allowed to evaporate a little before seaweed is added to infuse it with an unmistakable color and taste.
Essentially, Amabito No Moshio is a premium salt redolent with ocean flavor, which is refined using a blend of ancient and modern techniques to create a unique and exclusive seasoning.
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