When one thinks of luxury Asian food, the Ayam Cemani Black Chicken and Japanese Waygu Beef come to mind. Still, another famous delicacy is the Edible Bird's Nest of the Aerodramus swiftlets. Edible Bird's Nest has traditionally been regarded as a superior tonic for pregnancy, a beauty product among Chinese youths, or a luxury gift for occasions. Demand for Edible Bird's Nest is growing as more people embrace it with enthusiasm; the transparent jelly-like food is more desired and rarer than ever. Today, we will be sharing how insiders identify or classify the types of Bird's Nest in the industry.
Table of Content:
- Does the color of Dried Bird's Nest mean anything?
- How do sellers grade Dried Bird's Nest?
- Why are Dried Bird's Nest products sold in different shapes?
- Bird's Nest in its Pure & Original State
- House Bird's Nest vs. Cave Bird's Nest
Does the color of Dried Bird's Nest mean anything?
1.Red Bird's Nest
Ember-like, crimson color, the natural Red Bird's Nest, better known by the Chinese as Blood Nest(血燕 "Xueyan" ), is the most expensive, luxurious, and potent. Traditionally, Red Bird's Nest is the most superior among the other colors because of its enhanced health benefits and rarity.
There are several speculations on how Red Bird's Nest have their crimson color. As the name "Blood Nest" suggests, the most common folklore is that the swallows' saliva used to build a Bird's Nest contains blood which is proved to be untrue. In fact, the Red Bird's Nest was originally a white Bird's Nest, but because of the reaction from the minerals of the caves, the white Bird's Nest absorbed a large amount of trace elements such as iron, so its color changed to red over time. The Red Nest is also the perfect gift for auspicious occasions, which symbolizes prosperity & longevity.
2.Yellow Bird's Nest
Yellow Bird's Nest is the second most sought-after bird nest among consumers. Those who prefer the Yellow Nest over the White Nest might mention that to determine the authenticity of the Nest or to tell whether it is 100% genuine, the yellow Nest would be the safer choice. Why? The naturally occurring color comes from the diet of the Swiftlet during the nesting process. Moreover, the season also determines the caves' temperature and humidity, which plays a part in how the nest color would turn out. The yellow Nest seems thicker and chewy than the white Nest in terms of taste and texture.
3.White Bird's Nest
The most popular among Bird's Nest Consumers would be the White Bird's nests, and they are the most commonly sold in the market as well. They are highly nutritious, and many prefer their smooth and delicate texture. However, most problems consumers face from purchasing the white Nest are to tell if it is 100% natural or has undergone any form of bleaching. You may follow this guide if you want to know more about identifying a 100% Genuine Bird's Nest.
How do sellers grade Dried Bird's Nest?
Are you familiar with how diamonds are priced according to their grades? Similarly, If you have been to shops that sell Bird's nests, you might have noticed that they might be sold in grades. Bird's Nest grading, however, is subjective to the seller, unlike diamonds, where actual certifying bodies grade them. How these sellers grade bird nest mostly depends on their shape & purity. For example, Grade A would be the most expensive because it has a perfectly shaped cup with the slightest impurities; Grade B, on the other hand, would be cheaper as it is not perfectly shaped and has more impurities than a Grade A.
We do not grade our dried bird nest at Zhen simply because we pride ourselves on producing only the best for our consumers. Our Bird's nests are cleaned in our factory according to the strictest manufacturing guidelines of ISO22000 and HACCP. When delivered to your doorstep, our Dried Bird's Nest does not require further cleaning and is also safe and ready to be cooked for consumption.
Why are Dried Bird's Nest products sold in different shapes?
You may also notice that two Bird's Nest products with the same weight but different shapes have a significant price difference? Read on to understand why.
Bird's Nest Cup or Palm: This shape "Yanzhan" refers to a whole bird nest that retains its natural shape even after cleaning. This is the most valued shape, and it is also the preferred choice among consumers.
Bird's Nest Strands or Strips: The stranded pieces "Yantiao" of the whole cup after cleaning. 100% Natural Bird's Nest are very fragile, and sometimes pieces tend to break off during the cleaning process.
- Bird's Nest Cake or Biscuit: Imagine having a biscuit, and while you munch at it, crumbs will inevitably fall off from it. In this case, flakes or "Yansui" from the whole cup nest tend to fall off during the cleaning process. So to minimize wastage of these "gold" flakes, they are being shaped into cakes or biscuits artificially so they can be resold in the market.
Our Dried Bird's Nest is sold in cup or palm only at ZHEN as we want our customers to enjoy nature's superfood at its finest. Our ethically farmed 100% Genuine Bird's Nest is of the highest quality, free of chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavorings, additives, and stabilizers.
Bird's Nest in its Pure & Original State
Since there are six subspecies of the edible-nest Swiftlet, the Nest that they built comes mainly in these three original forms before the cleaning process.
- Premium Bird's Nests. It consists of 95% bird saliva and 5% feathers.
- Feather Prime Nests. It consists of 50% bird saliva and 50% feathers.
- Grass Nests. It consists of 5% bird saliva with grass and twigs.
Zhen only chooses Premium Raw Bird's Nest to undergo thorough hand-picking cleaning to ensure the complete removal of natural impurities and attain the best texture for consumption.
House Bird's Nest vs. Cave Bird's Nest
Edible Bird's nests are primarily harvested from two different types of terrain shown below:
Cave Nest – The Chinese origin of the name "Dongyan" is that swiftlets build their nests on mountain and rock caves and cliffs near the sea, which are mainly found in the islands of Indonesia and Thailand. Cave nests usually contain more foreign objects and feathers than House nests because of the surrounding environment. The prices of Cave Nest are generally higher than House Nest because the risk factor of picking is higher in caves, the harvest output is lower in comparison, and it's harder to clean.
House Nest: House Nest or "Wuyan" is the Bird's Nest collected in the Man-Made Swiftlet houses that come with nesting boards as furniture(possibly the only one) for swiftlets to build their nests, and there is generally no access to lights in them. The idea behind these houses came as early as the 1870s when a farmer in East Java, Indonesia, went out to make a living for several years. When he returned home, he was surprised to find that the Swiftlets had made a nest in his dilapidated house. He believed that it was the fortune bestowed on him by God, so he gave up his home to the Swiftlets for breeding and harvesting the Nest in return. House Nest has fewer impurities and feathers as the environment is ideal and controlled.