Bird nest soup is one of the nutritious delicacies in South-East Asia and some other parts of the world. If you own a bird nest restaurant, or you intend to buy large quantities, you need to understand how to identify authentic ones. The following are relevant tips on how to buy:
Make up your mind on the type you want
There are three major types of bird nests, and all are built by Swiftlets. Before you set out to buy, you need to make up your mind on the type you want. Here are the three different types you can choose from:
These are nests that have a bright red color. They are usually harvested once or twice in a year. About 50% of all bird nests are Red nests. However, Red nests are considered the most expensive type due to its nutritious value and demand.
White nests are built by Swiftlets that have never mated. They are seen as the highest quality of all nests and the most common in South-East Asia.
Yellow nests are produced by the same species of Swiftlets that produce the White nests. But unlike the White nests, the Yellow ones are produced by Swiftlets that are already mating. They are often creamy in color and one of the most sought after.
Ask if the nests are endorsed by the appropriate authority
Genuine bird nests are often endorsed by the government. Before you buy any, ask if it is endorsed by the appropriate regulatory agency. The market is flooded with several fake nests. As such, the government of countries where bird nests are available for sale often approves genuine ones in order to protect the public, and curb the activities of fake sellers.
See the nests you want to pay for before you buy. Physical inspection is a crucial part of buying authentic ones. Genuine ones are made from the saliva of Swiftlets birds and you can easily perceive the smell of eggs in the nest. The birds use the nest for raising their young ones and sometimes you may find feathers in them.
Fake bird nests are made of several different materials. They are unhealthy and harmful. If you’re absolutely new to buying it, you may need to go with an expert who can easily tell the difference between fake ones and real ones. Don’t fall into the trap of buying a replica instead of an authentic one.
How to verify nests authenticity
Avoid buying prepackaged bird nests, they are extremely difficult to verify. furthermore, take note of the following whenever you intend to buy:
The birds (Swiftlets) that produce the nests do not have exactly the same size. Some are bigger while some are smaller, as such all their nests cannot be exactly the same size. However, on the average most nests have a diameter of 6-7 millimeter. It weighs about 10-15 gram. It has a thick base and thin wall. Nests that are all in the same size are not authentic. They are man-made. Authentic ones sizes may be similar but not exactly the same. Watch out for the size before you buy.
The color of a bird nest is a strong signal of its authenticity. The color of authentic ones are not absolutely white or reflective. Some fake nests are chemically bleached to change their color; such ones are often very white and reflective. Some of such bleaching chemicals are harmful to human and can cause severe health problems. Appearance is one easy way to tell the difference between fakes ones and authentic ones.
How to spot fake bird nests
Fake bird nests are often made of fungus, gelatin, glue and flour, pigskin, sea gum or tree weed. But fake makers are smart, and they know how to make the fake ones look authentic. But there are some loopholes, and you can easily take advantage of that to identify fake ones.You can spot fake ones via the following ways:
Authentic ones often have the scent of eggs because they are used to raise the offspring of Swiftlets birds after hatching. Whereas, fake ones often have a fishy and bleach chemical smell. Do your best to perceive the scent of the ones you intend to buy.
Authentic bird nests are made of Swiftlets saliva. As such, they are fragile and break easily. Fake ones are often elastic, they are bendable and do not break easily. Fake ones are often made of glossy surface and feels like plastic when touched.
Here is a simple experiment to verify if a bird nest is fake or authentic. Soak a small portion in water for few minutes, and then gently pull its strands. If it loose instantly and easily then it is fake. Authentic ones are made from Swiftlets saliva and the saliva solidify like cement. It takes almost 48 hours or more to fully soak authentic ones for its strands to pull loosely.