Archive for August 11th, 2014

August 11, 2014

Edible Bird’s Nest

birds nest soup

Edible bird’s nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans, with an average nest selling for $2,500 per kilo for end-consumers in Asia. The nests have been used in Chinese cooking for over 400 years, most often as bird’s nest soup. Legend has it that shipwrecked sailors scavenging for food cleaned and cooked the nests and found the resulting stew so invigorating they were able to sail home to inform the emperor of their new discovery.

The Chinese name for edible bird’s nest, ‘yàn wō,’ translates literally as ‘swiftlet nest’ (swiftlets, common to asia, are superficially similar to swallows and known for building nests of solidified saliva). The most famous use for the nests is bird’s nest soup, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. When dissolved in water, the swiftlet nests have a gelatinous texture used for soup or sweet tong sui (a Cantonese custard).

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