What is birds nest soup, and why is it a source of conservation concern after centuries of East Asian tradition?
Bird’s nest soup has been an Asian culinary tradition for centuries. Made from the nests of edible-nest swiftlets—usually Aerodramus fuciphagus (formerly Collocalia fuciphaga) or Aerodramus maximus (formerly Collocalia maxima)—it can be either savory or sweet. Savory soup is made with chicken broth and contains pieces of nest, bits of chicken breast, mushrooms, quail eggs, and sometimes ham. Sweet bird’s nest soup is a simple recipe using nest, rock sugar, and water. Edible birds’ nests have a rubbery texture and don’t appeal to many palates; however, they are thought to be very nutritious and to have aphrodisiac properties. Nutritional analysis reveals a high protein content and variable amounts of minerals.
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