Can you imagine eating a bird’s nest? Or to use it in a dish? It’s probably the first time reading this, but it’s true, Bird's nest is the “Caviar of the East,” and here’s the reason why.
First and foremost, the word "caviar" may be interpreted as "salt eggs that have not been fertilized." Caviar comprises fertilized fish eggs that can only be obtained from a particular group of fish species. They are often offered in various colors, including black, olive green, gray, and orange. This caviar is mainly known to wealthy people as this has been called the “dish of the wealthy.” They are pleasing to the eye and have a smooth texture and a fishy flavor, and the pearl-sized beads explode in the mouth as you chew them. In addition, they are pretty appealing.
It is said that Bird's Nest is the caviar of the East since it is the most delicate and uncommon dish in the region. The only people who eat it are kings and connoisseurs (back in history). It was initially ingested in China more than 1,500 years ago, during the Tang Dynasty. It was given the name Swallow Nest when it was first discovered.
So why does this food considered to be the caviar of the East? Read more from this article.
- Rare produce
The expensive representation of the food comes from how this raw ingredient is made. This raw component is created by the Swiftlet birds. They construct their abode amid the dizzying heights that caverns carved out of limestone mountains provide. The nests are generated by the bird’s saliva. Although white is the most prevalent color for the nest, there are also yellow and red variations. Other birds, such as the Indian Swiftlet, often produce these colorful nests. It generates a substance that is similar to gelatin when it is combined with water.
- Rare Animal
Only in South and Southeast Asia can you find the swiftlet birds. In 2019, the price per pound had increased to a staggering $2,000; this element alone is a contributor. You may have the soup with Bird Nest for anywhere between $30 and $100 for each dish in the United States. This is just sufficient for one individual.
- Harvesting procedures
People who traditionally collected Bird's Nests put themselves in danger by exploring caverns in Borneo, Thailand, the Philippines, and other nations in South East Asia. The swiftlets like building their nests on the roofs of deep limestone caverns that may reach heights up to 60 meters. Most do not have any kind of protective gear or helmet on their heads. They climb the peaks using bamboo poles that have been tied with local vines so that they can reach the tasty delicacy.
According to the studies, one out of every sixty gatherers loses their life from injuries sustained in falls. Over time, the precariously built bamboo will either shatter or slide.
- The cleaning process
The structure of a bird's nest is built on a foundation of feathers and bird saliva. These dingy and unclean nests must be cleaned up first before they can be sold. Commercial cleaners often use bleaching substances to speed up the cleaning process. In addition, the kind of bird, as well as the food it eats, impacts the nest it makes.
Just like caviar, it is a scarce and unique ingredient for a dish which makes it expensive but still benefits the health and body of a person.
According to claims made by traditional Chinese medicine, eating bird's nests may treat various ailments, including TB, asthma, and stomach disorders. It has also been suggested that ingesting edible bird's nests might boost libido, increase immunological function, boost energy and metabolism, and promote circulation.
- What is Caviar and why is it one of the most expensive foods on earth? | The Times of India (indiatimes.com)
- Bird’s Nest: caviar of the East - Expat Life in Thailand
- Why Swiftlet Bird Nest is the Caviar of the East – HoneyCity Hong Kong – Authentic Certified Manuka Honey Health Food
- Edible Bird’s Nests: Nutrients, Benefits, Downsides (healthline.com)