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Unsurprisingly, the $300k lab-grown burger tastes horrible. Here’s what to eat instead

The world’s first 3D-printed, lab-grown burger reached a disappointing conclusion today after a taste test in London determined that the so-called cultured beef tastes nothing like real meat. This is unsurprising, considering that the lab meat was created to be lean and healthy – and a lack of fat marbles means a lack of the savory, over-indulgent finish we’ve come to know and love.

The burger patty was grown by researchers at Maastricht University with funding by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The team was able to create the synthetic meat by harvesting muscle cells from living cows, growing the cell into strands, then combining the strands into a complete patty. The idea is that once a lab-grown meat is deemed successful and safe to consume, synthetic meats can be considered as a sustainable, alternative food option to meet rising demands for meat. At the moment, however, a single 5-ounce patty is estimated to cost $331,200 to produce, so we’re clearly nowhere near the affordable alternative meat market.

BBC correspondent Pallab Ghosh was there for the taste test earlier today and live tweeted the whole event. The result? Underwhelming, to say the least. 

Lead researcher Professor Mark Post isn’t too disappointed as he’s reportedly working to improve the taste, and is using the event to help further develop cultured beef. Meanwhile, for $331,200, here are some scrumptious luxuries you could have been eating instead.

331 Golden Opulence sundaes

Golden Opulence Sundae SerendipityA sundae so special it has its own Wikipedia page, the Golden Opulence is a $1,000 ice cream sundae available at New York City’s dessert hot spot Serendipity 3. The sundae comes covered in one of the world’s most expensive chocolates, gold-covered almonds, chocolate truffles, candied fruits, and topped with a 23-karat edible gold leaf. And you could eat one sundae for almost every day of the year for the cost of one lab-grown burger.

82 Pizza Royale 007s

If sweets aren’t your thing, you could also go for a $4,000 pizza that comes with toppings like edible gold, cognac-marinated lobster, and champagne-soaked caviar. Dubbed the Pizza Royale 007, the dish concocted by Glasgow restauranteur Domenico Crolla was originally made as a holiday special for Valentine’s Day. Profits from these orders helped fund a charity benefiting those suffering curable blindness. Eighty-two of these pizza pies and benefits go straight to your toilet bowl.

837 Diamond-encrusted sushi

World's most expensive sushiWe’ve yet to meet anyone who’s ever walked from watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi and not craved pounds after pounds of raw fish goodness. You could use the cultured beef money to eat at Jiro Ono’s restaurant 871 times (minus the cost of a flight to Japan), or you could skip on over to Manila, Philippines to taste 837 pieces of the world’s most expensive sushi which come wrapped in a 24-karat gold leaf, three Mikimoto pearls, and a diamond. An edible frickin’ diamond, because why the heck not?

26 pounds of Beluga Caviar

The world’s most expensive caviar, the Beluga Caviar, sells at $25,000 per kilogram. For the price of one cultured beef patty, you could gorge on roughly 26 pounds of fish eggs instead. Nothing says indulgence like consuming animal fetuses that amount to the size of a human toddler.

66,240 cronuts

Cronuts Dominique AnselCronuts™ aren’t technically expensive (especially not in comparison to other things on this list), but they are probably one of the most sought-after, trendy food thing of the year. For $330k, instead of waiting in line at 5 a.m. for a bite, you could order 66,240 cronuts from Dominique Ansel Bakery in bulk and skip the whole line. Actually, for that much money, you could probably hire Mr. Ansel for the week to fresh fry cronuts for you in your own home.

331,200 McDonald’s cheeseburgers

Provided you live in Delaware, Oregon, or other states that don’t tax food, you could buy a lifetime supply of real, juicy cheeseburgers. Real-ish, at least. 

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