Birds’ Nest Benefits, Myths and whys? Birdnest Eating FAQs

Bird Nest Tonic – Product Benefits, Myths, Trust, and Why? FAQs on Singapore’s edible delicacy

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?

pieces of white bird's nest
Pure Bird’s Nest Soup is popular in Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, East Asia.

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.

fair asian woman
Bird’s Nest is Rich in Collagen

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:

  • Pregnant ladies
  • Mothers who gave birth recently
  • Young children
  • Sickly or weak individuals
  • Patients recovering from surgeries
  • Sports athletes
  • Celebrities, actresses, and models who need to maintain youthful skin and looks
  • Elderly seniors

The Chinese love this because of these health conditions from eating:

  1. Boost the immunity system
  2. Improve healing and recovery
  3. Build-up body strength
  4. Improve their beauty
  5. 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

  1. Soak the bird’s nest for four to eight hours.
  2. Then steam or stew (double-boil) them for 15 minutes. 
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. You may change the water once or twice during the soaking period.
  3. After three to eight hours, you can feel that it’s become softer and expanded in size.
  4. 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.
  5. Use a strainer or netting to remove excess water.
  6. 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.

young asian lady enjoying a spoonful of food 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


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