ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bird Nest Soup

Updated on December 6, 2018

A couple of Birds Nests

What is Bird Nest Soup?

Bird Nest Soup is a soup which is produced using the nests of the Cave Swiftlet (Aerodramus/Collocalia species) as a base.

The Cave swiftlet does not construct its nest like many birds from twigs and moss but out of its own very sticky but quickly hardening saliva.

The diet of the Cave Swiftlet is exclusively insects which it catches on the wing. The nest then, in essence, is insect based. It is known as 'The Caviar of the East.'

Photo by:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/moohaha/
Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moohaha/

Who eats the soup?

The origins of Birds Nests as a food are Chinese and the belief that it has aphrodisiac properties have led to it being very popular in Chinese communities wherever they occur.

The Soup will appear on the the menu of practically every Chinese restaurant in the World and wherever there is a Chinese community there will be 'nest dealers'. Sometimes that is all they sell but often they will also deal in Abalone, Deer velvet, Sharks fin and similar. Travelling around Asia and seeing the hundreds of shops selling many thousands of nests it is difficult to imagine that there could be that many Swiftlets in the World. It may come as a surprise then to learn that one of the biggest nest importers is the United States of America.

Today the nests are not only used in soup but also in soft drinks and 'pep' drinks sold at the corner shops in Thailand

Nest Collection

Happily the collection of nests is controlled. If this were not the case the Swiftlets would become extinct in a trice. Some caves have been in the ownership of families for generations and it is in their own interests that the birds remain healthy populations. Only some of the nests are collected and the birds allowed to peacefully rear their chicks afterwards.

Today nest production has been expanded by the building huge concrete towers which act as artificial caves. In Indonesia alone there are over half a million of these houses. People have given over their own homes to the swiftlets and are only too quick to realise what a lucrative trade it is. In one instance in Pattani in Thailand swiftlets took over the basement of a hotel and became the best paying customers.

Swiftlet farming/ranching today has made the birds almost a domestic species.

Indonesia remains the biggest producer most other Asian countries contribute to the trade.

Nest Cleaning and Sorting

Once the nests are collected they are meticulously cleaned. It is in purveyors interest to get the best possible price for their product so hygiene and attention to detail are foremost.

The nests come in a variety of colours based I would imagine on a combination of the species, the location and the dominant insect species being eaten.

Primarily there are white, yellow, red and golden nests. These vary in price from the relatively common white birds nests which currently sell for around $2000 per kilogram to the much rarer red nests which sell for up to $10,000 per kilogram.

Vietnam Cave Swiftlet's

My Verdict

 I love birds nest soup. It is rarely eaten on its own but rather added to other ingredients with chicken stock as a base. The texture of the soup is quite unlike anything else I have ever eaten. To be honest though I cannot afford it, but when offered never refuse.

 

Collecting Nests in Malaysia

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks joel b. - I can actually see how it may possibly work as a cure for asthma....though it would only work for nests collected in your province.

  • profile image

    joel b. 

    8 years ago

    I have enjoyed the benefits living in my province be able to eat birds nest that aided my health. we can purchase it here at P20,000 pesos phil. currency per kg., now my asthma is gone.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    VivekSri - Thank you for reading. Life is largely about trying and experiencing new things. Providing we do no harm....go for it. Get the guts to try.

  • profile image

    VivekSri 

    8 years ago

    Must be a good platter for the south east, have no guts for a hands on, any way learning new things from this post. Three cheers...

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    travel_man1971 - Yes I have eaten nido soup a couple times in the Philippines. Taste tends to vary according to location....as does the price...but cheaper in the Philippines. I don't think I tried it in Palawan.

    I recall the story of the basement swifts. Similar cases elsewhere with people actually moving out of their houses to allow swifts to move in.

  • travel_man1971 profile image

    Ireno Alcala 

    9 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

    If you happen to visit Philippines, we also have a version of bird's nest soup, the nido soup. The source comes from the cave-dwelling birds or the swiflets which are famous in Palawan. One family here in our province Camarines Sur (Bicol region) was featured in a local television show because of these birds that invaded their basement but continue giving them additional livelihood because of their nests.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    seemorebangkok - you need to think of other things than mucous when you eat it ;-)

  • seemorebangkok profile image

    seemorebangkok 

    9 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

    I tried bird's nest once at a friend's constant badgering to try and to me it tasted like slimy mucous. I really can't see why eating this stuff will make me healthy. I'll just stick to my beers and cigarettes =)

  • christine almaraz profile image

    christine almaraz 

    9 years ago from colorado springs

    I saw this on Bizzare Foods and it looked like something a lot of people wouldn't eat. But the host said it was good. I guess you can't judge anything based on the looks of it. Interesting hub.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)