Blog Post

Why Swiftlet Bird Nest is the Caviar of the East

Asian cuisines are characterized as rare, exquisite yet exotic. For every country in the continent, you will find a dish that represents the rich culture of the people. One of these is the Birds Nest soup. If you haven’t heard about this tasty soup, you will be surprised to know where it came from.


What is a Bird Nest Soup?

Just like the soup itself, birds nest soup has a rich history.

The rare delicacy comes from the nest of the swiftlet birds. They build their nest in the towering heights of limestone mountain caves. These nests produced by the bird’s saliva. The common color of the nest is white, but there are yellow and red versions of it. Other birds like the Indian Swiftlets produce those colored nest. When mixed in water, it produces a gelatin-like mixture.

China revolutionized this delicacy from the traditional dish to marketable food. Chinese believed to cook the nest for over 1,500 years now. They find the nest with medicinal values, said to cure even cancer. They even included it on other dishes. It is said that during the T’ang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.), swiftlets nests find their way to China from Borneo.

bird nest

The swiftlet birds are local to South East Asia only. This factor alone contributes to the skyrocketed value of $2,000 per pound as of 2019. In the U.S., you can have the soup for $30 to $100 per serving. This is good for one person only!

Why the bird nest is so expensive?

Bird Nest Ranked 8 in the most expensive food the human consume, with a jaw-dropping $10,000 for a red soup a bowl. There are two main reasons why this rich in flavor soup is so expensive.

1. Harvesting the nest is very dangerous, and fatalities are common.

Traditional gatherers of the Bird’s Nest braved themselves in caves of Borneo, Thailand, Philippines, and other neighboring South East Asian countries. The swiftlets love to create their nest to roofs of dark limestone caves, towering up to 60 meters high. Most of them are without any harness or helmet to protect them. They use bamboo tied with local vines to climb the heights just to reach the savory delicacy.

According to reports, 1 in every 60 gatherers dies due to fall-related injuries. The unstable erected bamboo breaks or slips over time.

2. Inflation and demand

In 1990, the cost of a pound of the Birds Nest was $1,000. Now, it is priced up to $2,000 per pound. Countries like Hongkong, China, and the USA are the top importers of these high-valued nests. Since its discovery and introduction as cuisine, the produced has fallen into a staggering 88%. This cut the supply all over the world, elevating the demand for this rare valuable delicacy. In HongKong alone, a whooping 200 tons a of birds nests a year is consumed.

Home-Cooked Bird Nest Soup recipe

Well, if you can’t afford to dine in a fancy restaurant where the ancient recipe is served, you can cook it yourself. There are lots of recipes you can find on the internet for the bird nest. But if you are opting for the more traditional one, just follow these easy steps.

Bird Nest Soup with Chicken Stock

  • Soak nest in the water overnight
  • Remove and divide the nest, a 15g per person
  • Add chicken stock or broth with ginger and oil and heat until the nest is dissolved
  • You may add seasoning to taste

Bird Nest Serving

When talking about bird nest recipe, one that is world-famous is the use of dates and rock sugar.

Sweetened Bird Nest Soup

  • Soak nest in the water overnight
  • Remove and divide, a 15g per person
  • Add dates and dissolve the rock sugar with it
  • Add seasoning to taste

If Chinatown is too far from you or doesn’t exist, don’t you worry. You can always order online with varieties to choose from. If you are from Singapore, you are very lucky. HoneyCity provides the best and high quality of Bird Nest. These are authentic and straight from Indonesia.

Check out their products here and enjoy the bird nest. They are now on sale!

King of Bird Nest Golden Fortune Gift Basket

bird nest sale
From the Caves to Urban Farming

With the decline of the numbers of birds in the wild and the danger of harvesting it, gatherers come up with an idea. They bring the swiftlets into their homes: yes, you read it right.

Bird Nest farming is recently becoming popular. People build concrete buildings, as high as three floors, to be the substitute breeding ground. So how do they make the birds stay and create high-prized nests?

They attached a sound system to the building and play a swiftlet sound all day long. By doing so, they ‘fool’ and attract the birds, as if they are already many of them inside.

Local farmers have to mimic the environment where these birds are originally staying. According to one farmer, the humidity has to be right. The smell must be like that of their caves and food should also be present. They use bugs to feed them. This practice of birds nest farming came from Indonesia. Other Asian countries followed up after seeing its potential as a lucrative business.

Bird Nest in Traditional Chinese medicine

From the T’ang Dynasty down to your local Chinatown today, Bird Nest is said to cure illness. Traditional Chinese Medicine sees the use of the Bird Nest not only as a soup but also for:

  • Treating cancer
  • Use as an anti-aging supplement
  • Treating lung ailments
  • Increases libido

Despite being made mostly of protein, Chinese people believe these health benefits. However, science is still not confirming the medicinal attributes of the expensive nest. These might be the reason why the demand in Chinese territory is enormous, especially due to the last one!

Environmental Impact of the Bird Nest hunting

So far, no government of any country supplying the “Caviar of the East” conducted a study of the overharvesting and urban farming of swifters nest. However, scientists believe that the declining population of the birds may lead to ecological imbalance. These birds have natural prey, mostly insects.
In 2011, the Chinese authorities issued strict trading and importing rules, as they found contaminated nests with AH1N1 virus.

The rising of the birds’ domestication also alarmed experts. These birds belong to the jungles as they say, and not meant to survive in an urban environment.

Controversies in Thailand

As reported by the San Francisco Gate on December 19, 2000, many companies managed to corrupt the locals and the government to take advantage of the lucrative bird nests. Large corruption around the country is present. These companies hire guards with guns, who will fire to anyone who comes close. Even fishermen who just happen to get near to the cave are being shot.

The rise of the competition of the most sought nests now became corrupted. Local officials turn blind eyes of these shooting incidents not because they are afraid, but because they are paid.

Environmentalists cry foul for their greediness. They cited that even the last (third) nest of the bird is being picked. This is the reason why there is too much decline in their population.

Related Posts

Honey on cabinet shelf

什么是蜂针疗法?蜂针疗法是什么意思? 蜂针疗法是一种用蜜蜂类产品来治疗从急性和慢性损伤所带来的疾病、症状及长期疼痛的另一个疗法。蜂针疗法(俗称蜂疗)用蜜蜂类产品如蜂蜜、花粉、蜂毒、蜂王浆、蜂胶、蜂蜡等。 (例如:新加坡红珊瑚蜂疗) 我个人在大学时期已对蜂疗有兴趣。我有很长时间的咳嗽,而药剂却不能帮助我太多。因此我转向麦卢卡蜂蜜,而它却帮到我!自此开始,我就阅读了所有关于蜂蜜制品、蜂疗及人类如何在以前的时代使用它的研究。 蜂疗的益处及用途 歷史上,蜂蜜已被用作在各種條件下為補品和補充療法來治療各種狀況。 蜂毒 蜜蜂会产出蜂毒来来刺及保护蜂巢避免外来的攻击。蜂毒治疗已用于一直40多种疾病如疣,关节炎,多发性硬化等。   适用于: 各种风湿肿痛, 持续性的肌肉肿痛, 肩周炎, 颈肩腰受损等症状 用法: 只能外敷。 取适用的量按摩于皮肤处。 每日2-3次。 需要时使用

Can you give honey to babies, toddlers? What are honey health benefits for children?

Honey is a nutritionally packed gift from nature. Studies have shown that honey has

Aloe Vera Skin Benefits- Why is it so good on face?

Aloe Vera    In this past two years, aloe vera’s skin care product is so happening,
2018 Year End Celebration Sales!

Table of Contents Stand a chance to win $33, $55, $66 worth of CarePoints!What is

This Is Why You Should Eat Vitamin C! Benefits and Side Effects

Table of Contents What is Vitamin C?Benefits of Vitamin CCardiovascular health  How does Vitamin C

How Apitherapy Helps to Cure Muscle joint pains like rheumatism and arthritis

Table of Contents What is Apitherapy? What does Apitherapy mean?Apitherapy Benefits and UsesMultivitamin to boost

Bird’s Nest Benefits and Myths – Know them before your purchase!

Table of Contents Bird’s nest –  Benefits and MythsEating Bird’s Nest EverydayEating Bird’s Nest During

How to choose the best bird’s nest? 4 Ways to Choose Good Bird’s Nest!

Read this before you buy any bird’s nest. The truth is that bird’s nest comes

Apple Cider Vinegar- Know the Health benefits before you start drinking!

Apple cider vinegar – do you know the health benefits you can get from

Manuka Honey Benefits: All the Questions you have – FAQ

Table of Contents Manuka Honey – Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is Manuka Honey?What are the Components

Pei Pa Koa

Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa is the newest craze to sweep New York. Bottles

Tongkat Ali – Reviews and Benefits

Table of Contents Tongkat Ali – What Is It?HistoryTestosterone?Benefits Of Tongkat AliHow Do They Benefit?Can

Differences and Health Benefits of Prebiotics and Probiotics

What are Prebiotics and Probiotics? Even though both sound similar, Prebiotics and probiotics are

Eczema Cure Manuka Honey Benefits: Healing naturally

Table of Contents Eczema Cure Manuka Honey Benefits: Healing naturallyHow Manuka Honey can help?Scientific Lab

Chia Seeds Superfood
Chia Seeds Black or white – Why i tried 9 brands of this superfood

Chia seeds pack such a nutritional punch that it is commonly known as a superfood. With

What is Chia Seeds? Why is it a Superfood?

What is Chia Seed and why is it a Super Food? Chia seeds is famous

Top 10 Manuka Honey Benefits

Table of Contents Top 10 Manuka Honey Benefits1. SIBO, Low Stomach Acid, Acid Reflux2. Acne

Benefits of Honey

Honey (Normal or Manuka) Nutrition Facts Regular honey is known and eaten regularly for its tremendous

UMF® Honey Licensee

UMF® HONEY ASSOCIATION LICENCEES UMFHA has 67 companies licensed to use the UMF® trademark. Only organizations

How to store Honey and Expiry date tips?

Honey Storage Tips and Expiry Manuka honey should be stored in its original bottle in

How to eat Manuka Honey correctly?

Table of Contents Eat UMF Manuka Honey correctly.Can I use metal spoon or wooden spoon

Manuka Honey UMF- Which UMF for me?

Which Manuka Honey UMF for me? Most healthy individuals would find UMF 10+ Manuka honey ideal

Manuka Honey Uses in what conditions?

Manuka Honey Uses- a Super Food The results of the Dresden scientific studies show that manuka

Why eat Manuka Honey UMF®? Benefits?

Table of Contents Manuka Honey Benefits -Superfood“Scientists uncover key to Manuka Honey’s benefits”Components of Manuka HoneyWhat

What is Manuka Honey UMF®?

Table of Contents MANUKA HONEY UMF ® by New Zealand GovernmentWhat is Manuka Honey?What is UMF®

What is Yemen Sidr Honey? (Middle East’s “Manuka Honey”)

Table of Contents What is Sidr Honey?Yemeni Sidr Honey vs New Zealand Manuka HoneySidr honey

Why Did I Try 10 Brands of Manuka Honey For Health?

Table of Contents I Love eating Manuka Honey for health!Manuka honey- used in New Zealand


Your Cart

Close Bitnami banner