For centuries, bird’s nest has been a prized possession enjoyed by royalty.
Today, it continues to be a delicacy in Chinese culture savoured by many. How has this unique animal product survived changing times while retaining its popularity?
Today, it continues to be a delicacy in Chinese culture savored by many. How has this unique animal product survived changing times while retaining its popularity?
Stay with us till the end to find out.
What Are Edible Bird Nests?
These are the nests of swiftlets, which the male birds made from his saliva that dried and is edible.
It’s garnered to make sweet dessert soup and is valued for its prized nutritional content and flavour.
Edible bird’s nests are rich in collagen, amino acids, glycoprotein, antioxidants, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and hormones. These are the key building blocks of smooth skin, like leucine, lysine, glycine, glutamine, tyrosine, arginine, cysteine, histidine, and tryptophan. These are renowned for tissue regeneration and cell growth.
Bird’s Nest is Rich in Collagen
It is usually freshly cooked with rock sugar into a dessert commonly called “bird’s nest soup” 燕窝. As a luxury food that is highly desired, it’s also used in other cooking methods such as drinks or mixed in some Chinese dishes.
There are even birdnest mooncakes that were launched in 2012.
Why are pure bird nests so beneficial and popular?
There are high levels of glycoprotein, collagen, amino acids, antioxidants, hormones, and various minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium in birdnest.
It’s also used in skincare ointments to maintain youthful skin. This soup is highly recommended for:
Mothers who gave birth recently
Sickly or weak individuals
Patients recovering from surgeries
Celebrities, actresses, and models who need to maintain youthful skin and looks
The Chinese love this because of these health conditions from eating:
Boost the immunity system
Improve healing and recovery
Build-up body strength
Improve their beauty
Maintain youthful skin
Boosts Your Immunity System
Many mothers and grandmothers swear by bird’s nest soup’s improvement to the overall health and immunity of their beloved children and grandchildren.
This has been a remedy since the ancient days of imperial China, where only the royal family and well-connected businessmen could savour the soup.
It’s also highly recommended for those who are recovering from illness or surgery operations. New mothers or pregnant ladies eat bird’s nests to get more amino acids for their bodies to build strength.
Bird’s Nest for Skin and Beauty
Scientific studies have proved that bird’s nest has a large amount of epidermal growth factor (EGF).
With the richness of collagen and amino acids, it’s no wonder that many women love drinking this often to maintain their youthful skin.
How Should I Eat Bird’s Nest?
According to Chinese medicinal advice, it is suggested that we should eat bird’s nest products on an empty stomach. This is a tonic that’s meant to nourish our bodies, so an empty stomach is better to absorb all the minerals. However it is not necessary to have this first, we can always eat this as a dessert after a good meal.
Most people in the East eat this delicacy as hot soup, boiled for hours, or chilled as a dessert. You can use honey instead too.
There are many modern restaurants that use it as a twist in Asian cuisine. For example, there are egg tarts that use this luxury food as fillings or chefs that add it to jelly desserts.
There’s also congee porridge that uses bird’s nests as well as dishes that cook it with scallops and mushrooms.
How Can I Prepare Bird’s Nest?
A simple way is just to soak, steam, and add sweeteners
Soak the bird’s nest for four to eight hours.
Then steam or stew (double-boil) them for 15 minutes.
Add in rock sugar or raw honey for five minutes for a sweet dessert.
How long do I Soak Bird’s Nest?
Soak your bird’s nest for three to eight hours depending on the condition.
Wild natural graded with good texture require at least 24 hours of soaking to soften.
Here are the directions:
Place the bird’s nest in a bowl of cool and clean water, making sure the water covers them entirely. This allows full contact with water for full absorption.
You may change the water once or twice during the soaking period.
After three to eight hours, you can feel that it’s become softer and expanded in size.
There may be a small number of feathers or debris so you can use a pair of tweezers to remove them. For ease, place the material on a white cloth so you can see the dark feathers or debris easily.
Use a strainer or netting to remove excess water.
If there are still impurities, you can rinse the nest a few times, tearing small strands out to allow the impurities inside to be washed off.
How to Cook Bird’s Nest Soup?
All types of bird’s nests should be prepared with indirect heat (i.e., stewing or steaming).
One should take caution not to boil the nests directly, to prevent overheating. Place the bird’s nest bowl to be steamed or stewed.
The Chinese call this procedure “double boiling” where the bowl is placed on a metal stand in a pot of water. You boil the pot of water that steams the soup bowl.
bird nest soup taste like delicious
How to Stew Bird’s Nest?
The water in the stewing bowl must cover the entire bird’s nest and other ingredients. The water level should not be more than 70% of the stewing bowl’s full height because the water level will rise during the boiling period.
Boil the pot of water (that is holding the stewing bowl) and reduce the heat to a simmer.
The active ingredient, the “mitogenic stimulation factor”, gets active around 80 degrees Celsius (176 Fahrenheit).
The effectiveness will be lost if the soup is boiled directly at more than 80 degrees Celsius. Hence, once the pot of water boils, reduce the heat and let it simmer.
How Long Should I Boil Bird’s Nest?
You only need 15 minutes for the bowl of bird’s nest to simmer once the pot of water boils.
You may prefer to use an electronic stewing pot or slow cooker for convenience. Simply adjust the heat intensity to a low level.
You can keep it at a warm temperature too so that you can serve it to family members at any time.
Avoid using a microwave as it applies heat directly and may damage the nutrients.
Bird’s Nest Soup Recipe
1 piece of nest (a whole nest of 8g for 1-2 servings)
1 bowl of water
A few pieces of rock sugar to taste (you can use less if you prefer it less sweet)
Birds Nest Soup Is Best Consumed on an Empty Stomach
In traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is classified as a tonic. Ideally, it should be eaten before meals to allow the body better absorb.
Bird’s Nest for Recovery from Illness
The glycoprotein and amino acids help in recovering from chronic illness. In Chinese medicine, it may help respiratory ailments such as cough, phlegm, or asthma.
Do note that bird’s nest is not a medicine nor treatment for any specific illness. It’s a tonic to help the body recover and gain strength.
Bird’s Nest for the Elderly or Children
Bird’s nest consists of essential glycoproteins, amino acids, and minerals that are essential for healthy development.
Children need it to develop and grow, and the elderly need it to recuperate and reduce aging problems.
For example, birds nest is a Chinese medicine relief for phlegm problems, chronic coughs, and fatigue.
It can also be used to stimulate the appetite, improve digestion, and stimulate bowel movement, all of which are essential bodily functions for kids and seniors.
Regular consumption helps boost the body’s immune system and improve the function of the lungs and kidneys.
Is eating bird’s nest soup good for pregnancy?
Chinese traditional medicine shares that bird’s nest is nourishing and contains essential nutrients for pregnant ladies and breastfeeding mothers.
It’s flush in glycoprotein and amino acids that are the building blocks of cells. It’s also renowned for boosting the mother and child’s immune systems.
Birds nest post pregnancy confinement baby mother
Bird’s nest is also safe and beneficial to eat during confinement.
What is some goodness of eating Bird’s Nest for Pregnancy?
Bird’s nest is reputed to promote healthy growth to the fetus by stimulating cell growth, improving blood circulation, and strengthening the immune system.
It contains the following that are essential for mothers-to-be:
The abundance of collagen helps to relieve stretch marks during pregnancy and allows the mother to recover her smooth complexion after giving birth
Threonine helps the mother to build up her collagen and elastin for her skin and stretch marks
Glycine helps to reduce pre-eclampsia in pregnant ladies and reduce risks of neural tube defects in the fetus
Tryptophan (a precursor of serotonin and melatonin) reduces fatigue, anxiety, and stress in mothers. It enhances the mother’s recuperation after birth and aids in the growth of the child
The amino acids present like leucine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, arginine, histidine, and proline help to build and recover body tissues
When Should Pregnant Ladies Eat Bird Nest?
Pregnant ladies should eat bird’s nests from the fourth month of their pregnancy. We recommend 5-10 g per serving (1 bowl of soup) for a pregnant lady every day, or at least once a week.
During the first three months of pregnancy (the first trimester), it’s not recommended to have this tonic to allow the embryo to develop first.
Should I Eat Bird’s Nest After Giving Birth?
Yes, This nutritious drink or soup helps the mummy to absorb essential minerals and vitamins and to recover.
After an event that’s traumatic to the female body, the new mother needs to recuperate and recover from the fluid loss and procedure.
There is also hormone imbalance from stress, lack of sleep, and a lowered immune system. The new mother is also expected to start breastmilk to feed her baby. Mothers recover their smooth skin and relieve stretch marks fast!
Should I Eat Bird Nest While Breastfeeding?
Yes, bird’s nest has essential nutrients like the various amino acid that will help the mother in recovery.
It can help to improve breastmilk supply. Many numerous scientific studies have shown how breast milk is best for babies
Are There Any Side Effects of Consuming Bird Nest?
No, there are no side effects. While there have been rare instances of people being allergic, scientific research shows that no other harmful side effects have been recorded.
How does eating birdnest help my skin?
Threonine helps in the building of collagen and elastin which helps in keeping the skin youthful and radiant.
Ladies who eat bird’s nests regularly have more beautiful and youthful looks.
It is so abundant in amino acids that are useful for the renewal of our complexion.
What’s the Difference Between Indonesian and Malaysian Bird’s Nest, prices and quality?
Indonesia has more caves and is a natural habitat suitable for the larger population of swiftlets. The swiftlets’ bird’s nests have greater nutritional value and are more premium.
Malaysia has many farms where they create buildings to encourage swiftlets to nest. The quality and value of such nests are perceived as less premium and are hence more affordable.
Bird’s Nest Prices
Indonesian bird’s nests are more premium and valuable due to their higher quality. They have more natural habitats suitable for the larger population.
The bird’s nests have greater nutritional value and are superior.
Malaysia has many nesting houses properties where they create buildings to encourage swiftlets to visit. The quality and value are perceived as lesser and are hence more affordable.
The price can vary between $500 and $700 for 100g pack.
Malaysia’s can be traded for about $200 per 100g, which is more affordable relatively.
What Are Some of the Myths and truths about Bird’s Nest?
There are myths that say eating bird’s nest causes asthma or allergies in children, but this has been scientifically debunked.
Other similar myths like eating it while pregnant will ensure lighter-skinned babies have also been debunked. Your baby’s skin color and tone are predetermined by genetic factors.
There are myths that some are red from the birds. Others say that the birds are harmed during retrieving operations. These statements are untrue – stay with us to debunk them!
We will discuss the following myths and truths:-
Eating bird nest every day is ideal
Eating it during pregnancy results in a fair and white baby
Eating it during pregnancy leads to asthma in my baby
Eating it during confinement is beneficial to the mother
It is ideal for cancer
It is ideal for cough
It is ideal for acne
Red colored nests are not made from the birds’ blood
It is made by both house and cave species.
Caves’ nests are better than farms’
Red nests are better than white ones.
Swiftlets are harmed in the collection operation
Eating Bird’s Nest Every Day
Is it safe to eat this nutritious food every day? Some (such as white) are safe to eat daily while others such as goldens and reds should be taken in moderation due to the minerals.
White type is safe to consume every day as it’s rich in glycoprotein, collagen, amino acids, antioxidants, hormones, and various minerals.
Bird’s nest is treasured for:-
High nutritional value
Smooth and fair skin
All-natural anti-ageing ability
Boost immune system
However, golden and red bird types should be taken in moderation due to the high mineral that may put unnecessary stress on your body while trying to process it.
Eating Bird’s Nest During Pregnancy Results in Fair Skin for My Baby
Bird’s Nest Does Not Cause Fair Skin in Babies
Skin color is determined genetically and there’s no scientific evidence to show that the consumption of any food, such as birdnest, soybean, and coffee will affect your baby’s skin tone.
It is recommended that mothers drink bird’s nests only after the first three months of pregnancy for the embryo to grow properly.
Eating Bird’s Nest During Pregnancy Leads to Asthma for My Child
Child asthma not caused by bird’s nest
Eating bird’s nest during pregnancy does not increase nor reduce the risk of your child contracting asthma.
It’s also important to note that as with all food, it should be taken in moderation.
Eating Bird’s Nest During Confinement
It’s safe for mothers to consume bird’s nests during confinement post-pregnancy.
These essential minerals and vitamins, such as EGF, aid the recovery process and enhance the milk supply for mothers who breastfeed their children.
It can also help stimulate the appetite and aid digestion, repairing damaged tissue and improving overall immunity.
The period after birth is crucial and as a mother who has just given birth, you should take all the effort you can to recuperate and re-energize yourself to enjoy your time with your new bundle of joy!
Can Bird’s Nest Cure Cancer?
Bird’s nest helps relieve some cancer symptom
No, bird’s nest cannot be a substitute for modern medical treatment but it can help relieve certain symptoms.
Consumers are advised to purchase them from a trusted source to avoid harm.
Are Red Bird’s Nests Made by Both House and Cave Swiftlets?
cave swiftlet benefits myth
This myth is untrue. Red bird’s nests are only made by cave swiftlets and the redness is due to the contact and the normal absorption of minerals from the cliff wall.
White nests are made from BOTH cliff and farm processes but farms produce cleaner and superior nests due to the clean environment where the nests are built.
Are Red Bird’s Nests Better Than White Bird’s Nests?
red Bird’s nests are better than white bird’s nest
It depends. Both nests have the same levels of protein and amino acids base but reds are presumably better due to the higher levels of minerals they contain.
Your body requires only a limited amount of minerals and any excess or long-term consumption can damage your health as it may put unnecessary stress on your organs to process the excess minerals.
Are Cave Nests Better Than Farm Nests?
This is untrue. Cave nests are more expensive as they are low in supply due to the difficulty of climbing steep cliff walls.
Another reason would be the excessive minerals found in the natural cliff outputs are thought to be superior in essence even though both have similar amino acid and protein levels.
The industry has turned to farms in urban areas and adopted swiftlet husbandry methods and structures. They are specially designed to mimic the conditions of nature and the nests are routinely collected to ensure high traits, cleanliness, and freshness.
Are Swiftlets Harmed in the Harvesting of Bird’s Nests?
baby birdlings are not harmed during birdnest collection
It’s an industry practice for farmers to harvest only after they are abandoned. However, methods may differ depending on the location.
Bird’s nests from farms are collected in a responsible way after they are abandoned by the family when the baby birdlings can fly. They only return during the next mating season when they will build new homes for another batch.
However, for nests from high cliffs, due to seasonal constraints and other risk factors, workers may simply pluck whatever is available.
Where to buy Bird Nest, what brand in Singapore?
Buy Indonesian bird’s nests and get them delivered at a favorable price from product-category/birds-nest/”> premium bird nests at the best prices. These are imported directly from suppliers in Indonesia and they are carefully selected to guarantee satisfaction.
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