Las Vegas is made with ‘caterpillar’ fungus—take a look

Las Vegas has long been known for splurge-worthy experiences, like beach clubs and expensive cocktails. Now you can also throw down $688 for a bowl of soup.

Don’t expect an ordinary soup. The Cordyceps Soup, served at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, is made with Cordyceps fungus, referred to as “caterpillar fungus,” since it resembles the fuzzy creatures. It’s extremely rare, and must be flown in from one of the few seasonal locations where it grows at a minimum altitude of 12,500 feet, like the Himalayas in Asia. The fungus is believed to have powerful healing properties, such as acting as a natural cancer treatment and anti-aging supplement — it’s even known as the “Viagra of the Himalayas”

Cordyceps is so rare that it sells for more than $100 a gram across Asia and the U.S., according to BBC — that’s about $45,000 a pound. There is a quarter ounce of Cordyceps in every bowl of soup.

“The broth of the Cordyceps soup has tea-like characteristics with hints of earthiness from the Cordyceps themselves. The recipe includes the highly prized Silkie breed of chicken as well as Chinese dates,” Bryan Fyler, executive chef at The Cosmopolitan, tells CNBC Make It. The soup also includes Longan berries.

The soup is served in the resort’s Talon Club, a VIP gaming room. “The resort’s high-end casino customers from the Far East are accustomed to having these types of cultural delicacies available to them,” says Fyler. “On average we serve approximately five bowls of the Cordyceps soup per month.”

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