Bird's nest is known to be rich in nutrients and help restore health to the sick and elderly, strengthen the skin, and immune system and stimulate cell growth.
But a bird's nest has many different types and qualities. Although popular, many people cannot distinguish which is a real bird's nest from a fake bird's nest. We will provide some information on how to choose a bird's nest.
1. Select the bird's nest by shape
The ideal shape of the nest can be arranged in the following order:
- Boat-shaped or cup-shaped - the nest is intact, and the whole nest maintains its shape and fibers.
- Triangular - triangular nests, of moderate size, usually with 3 or more such nests from 1 nest.
- Stripes - broken stripes from a bird's nest
- Cake shape - consists of small pieces of bird's nest, crumbs, meshed together into pieces
Usually, bird nests are built on cave walls, or farmhouse walls using the saliva secreted by swiftlets. According to research, swiftlet saliva is rich in proteins and amino acids that can aid in the recovery of chronic diseases and relieve common ailments such as asthma and cough.
- Cup-shaped nest: As a type of bird's nest that can be fully exploited, the price is high because the fibers are intact and not broken. Therefore, the highest quality bird nests are usually boat or cup-shaped.
Prices are based on the size and shape of the nest. The finer and leaner the fibers, the higher the price.
The second is a triangle, where 2 or more such pieces come from 1 nest. Remaining intact fibers from broken oats can be sold at much lower prices for good quality. One last type is the bird's nest cake made from small pieces of a bird's nest that are knitted together. Low quality but often used for bottled drinks.
2. Texture and color of bird's nest
You should make sure the nests have a solid feel and the fibers should be thicker and tightly knit together. If the yarn is loose and feels soft to the touch, the quality is not the best.
Besides, the bird's nest needs to have a slight fishy smell to have good quality.
The color of the bird's nest is natural ivory white. It must not be too pure, as it will go through the bleaching process that has taken place to give it an unnatural white color.
- White - pure and free of minerals from cave or farm walls.
- Gold - absorption of minerals from cave walls.
- Red- is not red from the blood of swiftlets, but due to absorption of minerals from some caves.
Combined Gold and Red - this is rarer because they can only be mined from certain caves in Southeast Asia and the quality and mineral content is rich, so the price is also higher.
- Yellow and red bird's nest
Yellow and red bird's nest is suitable for pregnant women, the elderly, patients in recovery periods such as anemia, and postoperative patients who need to supplement minerals that the body lacks.
However, they should be taken in moderation such as weekly (instead of daily) due to their high mineral content. In addition, you can consult your doctor before including a yellow or red bird's nest in your diet.
3. Selection of bird's nest based on cleanliness
- High-Quality Bird's Nest - (Aerodramus Fuciphagus) - 95% edible saliva and 5% feathers and debris
- Feather nests - 50% edible saliva and 50% feathers and debris
- Grass Nest - 5% edible saliva and 95% feathers and detritus.
Surely premium quality will have the best price. Most brands have specialist cleaners, or if you don't have the time, you can buy ready-to-eat items. But there are still some that need to be cleaned on their own and are much cheaper because of the extra time and effort required to use tweezers to remove hair and debris.
4. Selection for Country of Origin.
Edible bird's nest is only found in Southeast Asia. Bird's nests come from different countries, each place has a different taste not only in quality but also in price.
The top is the most expensive:
High quality due to specific environmental conditions. They have a richer taste and strong aroma. The supply of high-quality bird nests is limited and has high prices globally.
Nests from Thailand are denser, firmer, and meet the high quality desired by consumers. They are harvested in the cave, difficult to exploit, and in small volume, so the quality and price are higher. They will require more time to cook and soak.
The texture of a bird's nest is softer and smoother. These nests are also clean as most are harvested from caves and farms that are easily accessible and the prices are usually low. Most of Indonesia's bird nests are of good quality, providing 70% of the world's demand.
Primarily mined from Malaysia are farms and therefore more affordable and cleaner.
Normally, natural oats are more expensive than farmed oats
Edible bird nests are only harvested from special farms for swiftlets or caves on the cliffs. Regardless of where the oats are harvested, their nutritional content is the same.
In particular, the controlled environment of the swiftlet farm. The farms that produce bird's nests are much cleaner due to the controlled environment where the nests are built, from which the high-quality harvest is obtained. At the same time, licensed farms also practice sustainable harvesting in which the nests are collected only after they have been abandoned by the swiftlets.
Harvest nests in the cave. The cave nest is built on the cave wall and contains many impurities and materials. Composed of minerals from the walls also tend to seep into the nest, causing the nest to appear yellow or red as the harvester digs deeper into the burrow.
5. How to prepare for consumption of bird's nest?
Preparing nests for young birds takes a long time. The level of preparation depends on the nest level, the type of nest, and the production method of the producer. They have to wash all the oats first, so the preparation process won't be too arduous.
- STEP 1: Set aside the required number of nests for the recipe.
- STEP 2: Soak the bird's nest in water for 24 hours. During the soaking process, remember to change the water at least twice.
- STEP 3: Using tweezers, remove any metal or foreign particles.
- STEP 4: Final flush.
- STEP 5: Put the bird's nest into the clean container.
- STEP 6: Pour hot water into that bowl and drain immediately. Then you continue to cook them.
6. How to identify a fake bird nest?
The best way to avoid fake oats is to buy from a trusted source. But it's not certain, so you can check out official certifications, open customer support, and professional advocacy from the FDA or BBB.
The mass-produced artificial nests are identical, without the unique complications of real oats. Edible bird nests are off-white (not bright, reflective white) and can vary slightly in color from nest to nest.
Real dry nest has a slight fishy smell and village. If the sniff is strong and if it smells like plastic or has no scent at all, it may be artificially manufactured. However, beware many fake nests use seaweed. You can combine the remaining ways to find the real bird's nest.
The real nest is quite fragile to the touch.
There are many varieties of bird nests with different colors. Red and yellow swiftlets are the most difficult to produce, so be careful with these. How to soak them in water for better identification. If color oozes from the fibers, it is a fake.
How to clean the bird nest?
- 1 sieve about 20cm in diameter, medium-sized hole
- 1 small tweezers
- A patch of shallow white
- Cooking pot
- Small bowl of water
Soak raw bird's nest in cold water and let it soak for 1-3 hours.
Pour the whole bird's nest into the sieve to get the bird's nest so as not to miss the bird's nest.
Then, put the bird's nest into the running water, squeeze the yogurt to remove all fibers and remove hair and dirt.
Take the bird's nest into a bowl full of water, treat the bird's nest and pour the bird's nest on a plate.
Use your hands to spread thin layers, use tweezers to pick up the hair. Each time, you dip the tweezers into the bowl of water until the nest is completely clean.
Soaking time is about 1.2 hours depending on the thickness of the nest.
Use tweezers to dip a little to thoroughly clean impurities and hair
Separate the edible bird's nest into strands, put it in a sieve, use a sieve to put it in a bowl of water, take the bird's nest down to remove the fluff, change the water several times to have a clean bird's nest.
Note to make sure to clean the feathers and achieve high efficiency during processing is that you should not dip the oats in hot water because it can cause the oats to melt and lose some of the nutrients in the oats.
In particular, during preliminary processing, do not use any natural substances or chemicals, and must wash the outside with clean water.
There are still many cases of using alcohol and cooking oil to deodorize the fishy smell of oats, but this causes a reaction of nutritional deterioration leading to loss of nutrients and characteristic flavor. Just use clean water to clean the bird's nest.
Soaking time to soften, not too long, should only be soaked for less than 4 hours and when it is out in the sun.
Through the steps of sharing how to choose a bird's nest, you can not only base on the famous brands purchased but also check related factors such as type of bird's nest, color, texture, origin,... Because these things will help you see where your budget will be spent.