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Photo: BusinessInsider.com

In many parts of Asia you can find a species of bird called the swiftlet. Certain species, known as cave swiftlets, are unique in that rather than building nests from twigs they form intricately woven threads from their gummy saliva. These threads then harden when exposed to air.

What is Bird's Nest Drink?

The mixture is made of only sugar, bird's nest, and water. The resulting taste is that of a slightly minerally and even somewhat floral simple syrup. There is an odd texture from the bits of rock candy and nest floating about. Honestly, the idea is far more exotic and unique than the flavor. Still, I bet you could create some truly wicked cocktails from this, according to Epicurious.

What does Bird's Nest taste like?

Birds in the swift family eat primarily saltwater fish. Since the birds use their saliva to make the nests, the delicacy has a salty and slight briny taste to it.

Bird’s nests are often boiled in water to create a gelatinous mix to add to soup, rice and a variety of dishes, including desserts to give them a savory taste. Depending on the quality of the nest, there might be a pungent smell.

How is Bird's Nest made and harvested?

Bird’s nest farms lure swift birds into a dark location - barns, warehouses and other large structures - with an amplified bird whistle. Once settled into the building, the birds make their nests, using primarily solidified saliva.

It can take anywhere from a couple of months to a year for the birds to build their nests, hatch their young and finally abandon the nests. After the birds leave their nests, the farmers come in and harvest the nests, by climbing up and removing them.

Farmers try to provide a safe and welcoming environment for birds so that they return each season. This provides farmers with an ongoing source of builders. Before bird’s nest farms started, people traveled deep into the woods and caves to find and harvest nests. Today the rarest bird’s nests are still harvested from caves on the islands in Vietnam, shared by Goldennest.

Benefits of drinking Bird's Nest

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Photo: Vietcetera.com

A detoxifier and oxygen supplier

Edible bird’s nest contains eighteen amino acids, some of which aren’t produced naturally by the human body. Amino acids provide many positive health benefits. The group present in bird’s nest combine to increase the rate at which our bodies metabolize toxic substances. They also stimulate the growth of red blood cells which are needed to carry oxygen throughout the body while expelling carbon dioxide.

Fights chronic diseases, increases nerve functionality and energy

Trace minerals in bird’s nest include Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn) which together provide a powerful boost to many important functions of the body. Manganese is needed to maintain normal nerve and brain function. Also, it helps the body form connective tissues and balance sex hormones, and it also assists in fat and carbohydrate metabolization, as well as with blood sugar regulation. It also serves as a strong antioxidant, slowing the aging process while acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has numerous therapeutic applications for chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

An immune system booster

Edible bird’s nest is said to have positive effects on the liver and the kidneys when consumed regularly for long periods of time. It’s loaded with predigested protein and nutrients, and consuming these in this rare form may aid the body in fighting off illness and disease. In fact, bird’s nest is currently being tested for its potential prevention of HIV according to The Japan Times.

How did it become the "caviar of the East"?

Many people refer to the bird’s nest as the “caviar of the East”. Part of the reason for the name stems from its origins in China and the Far East. Of course, another reason comes from the cost of buying a bird’s nest.

Since this delicacy is made by birds, there is a limited supply, which drives the price. Indonesia is the largest exporter of bird’s nest, and prices can run as high as $3,000 per pound. For many centuries, the caviar of the East was a treat reserved for royals and their courts.

Of course, a lot of work goes into harvesting and preparing bird’s nest for consumption. Also, there are inherent dangers in harvesting bird’s nests from building rafters and inside caves, which also explains the cost.

Is Bird's Nest havesting cruel?

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Photo: GoldenBirdNest.com

“Many people on the internet say that eating bird’s nest is really cruel, and call on everyone to stop eating bird’s nest, because the harvesting of bird’s nest which harvester will pick away Swiflet’s nest and caused the baby bird got no place to shelter.” But is that really the case?

Most of the Modern Yan House is a space that imitates the cave environment. According to Swiflet’s habits, the house is specifically used to attract golden swallow come in to build their own nest. For Swiflet, they build the nest is not used to live, just to incubate the baby bird. Usually, Swiflet is hanging on the wall to rest, it’s similar to bats. They never use the nest repeatedly, each nest is only for once. Wait for the baby bird to hatch and learn to fly, then they will abandon the nest and go. Swiflet lives for about 15 years, during this time they will keep building the nest about 5-6 times per year. Swiflet will build a new nest every time for their new-born, the leftover bird’s nest is then harvested by the human as an edible bird’s nest, goldenbirdnestglobal noted.

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