Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bird Nest Soup

Bird Nest Soup is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, some called it the 'caviar of the east'.  It is actually the saliva of the swiftlets that are used to make their nests. I remember when I was young, my mother  would be spending hundreds on buying birds nest to cook bird nest soup for the family. It was really a rare treat then. Now, we have them almost every week :P

About 5 years ago, my father got into a swiftlet farming craze. With a kilogramme of the nests costing up to $2000, it's easy to see why swiftlet farming has become very popular. My father decided to buy a plot of land in Malaysia and build a swiftlet farm. The swiftlets came and the bird nests started coming in gradually. He managed to convince Jerome that this is a viable business that can be invested in and it requires minimal monitoring. Basically you just build a multi-storey building, play the calls of the swiftlets using a good sound system, and 'invite' the swiftlets to build nests in your farm. After the baby chicks hatch, grow and leave the nest, you can then collect the nests.

Hence, we decided to buy a 3-storey shophouse and converted 2 levels into a swiftlet farm. Glad to say that we have had our first harvest of about 30 nests in the beginning of the year. It will be a few more years before we can start selling the nests. Now, it's just enough for our own personal consumption. But before we can really enjoy the fruits of our labour, there's a lot of work to be done...

Look at all these feathers, you can't eat them, can you? You can't pull out the feathers now as they're stuck to the harden nests.

So first, we need to soak them in water until the nests are soft.

After about 2 hrs, the nests are soft...

Pour everything into a sieve and wash it under the running tap to get rid of the small bits of egg shells and feathers. This will help to clear up the 'mess' faster...

Using a pair of long tweezers, you can then start removing the fathers bit by bit, feather by feather. 
You will need a few bowls of water to do this. 
After 2 hours, no more feathers!
(Removing the feathers is a time-consuming and almost 'back breaking' process, so you can see that's why the bird nests have been in storage for over 6 months now :P)

Can't see the bird's nest as well?

Here, drain out the water... 
Looks like jelly...

Bird's nest on its own is quite tasteless, you'll need other ingredients...
red dates, pao sheng (American Ginseng slices), rock sugar...

Pour everything + water into a double boiler...
30 minutes later, enjoy your birds' nest soup...
you deserve it... or rather I deserve it :P

I have some leftover... Put in the fridge...
And tomorrow cold bird nest soup!
Benefits of Birds' Nest: High in protein & amino acids, aids in digestion, good for complexion, promotes growth & tissue repairs. 


  1. mann i love bird's nest soup too even IF its made from spit!!! <333

    i eat it like once every monthish and used to bought from website sometimes, my mom went back to hong kong and bought a full suitcase of it cause its cheaper there XD

  2. Wow! An entire suitcase? Is that a year's supply? :)

  3. right!!! cause it save a lot to do so~~~



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