The Chinese Tradition of Bird’s Nest Soup

Edible bird’s nests made by male Swiflets have been used in traditional Chinese medicines and soups for centuries. White-nest, black-nest, and red-nest swiflets make their nests out of solidified saliva that is woven into strands to form a bowl shaped. They are built on the sides of caves, and are harvested for their nutritional value and healing properties. The nests are high in iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, They are used to increase blood circulation, boost the immune system, relieve respiratory ailments, strengthen the kidneys and liver, hydrate the skin, and provide energy.

For commercial harvesting, reinforced concrete nesting houses have been built by the seashores that have attracted the Swiflets for over 400 years. Because the nests are an animal product, they are subject to import restrictions. Bird’s nests can be purchased online at The product is available in Grades A to D, and the grade dictates the price range. The product is sold by weight, and it available in gift packages that contain Grade A bird’s nests. The nests are given as a gift in order to bestow many blessings on the recipients. It is usually a wedding or anniversary present, given by close relatives.

The most common way to enjoy bird’s nest is in traditional soup. The nest portions are boiled, and become gelatinous in texture. The better grades can be boiled into a silky texture if that is preferred. Once boiled for a couple of hours in a special pot, simple ingredients can be added for flavor. These usually consist of rock sugar, ginger, wolf berries, and lemon or mint. Bird’s nest soup is recommended for consumption by people of all ages for good health and vitality. The product can also be used in egg tarts, desserts, jelly, and other traditional Chinese recipes and dishes.

The soup is enjoyed in finer Chinese restaurants, and can be an expensive dish to order. The popularity of the soup is growing in Western countries because of the health benefits. Purchasing the ingredient online and making the soup at home is a cost-effective way to experience the taste, try something new, and reap the benefits.