Watch Cooking Channel

Waiter, There’s Spit in My Soup: A Review

In some Asian cultures, bird’s nest soup is not only a delicacy but a medicinal concoction, believed to aid digestion, strengthen the immune system and — perhaps its biggest selling point — increase libido. You might think that there must be some magical dried leaves and twigs in those nests to have such a power, but think again. These nests are actually made out of bird saliva, which has dried and hardened. That’s right; when you’re eating a bowl of bird’s nest soup, you’re having a bowl of spit (and other ingredients).

It’s not as disgusting as it sounds — or perhaps it is — but either way, bird’s nest soup is not without its frowned-upon opinions. These nests of spittle are created by swiftlets — little birds indigenous to Southeast Asia that dwell in caves — and taking them out of the wild harms the species’ livelihood, much to the chagrin of conservationists. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from foraging for them. The demand for bird-nest dishes in places like Hong Kong outweighs the supply, which results in a high market price: a pound of these bird nests fetches over $4,500 (USD), depending on the nest’s quality.

Bird’s nest soup is also a delicacy in the Philippine province of Palawan, specifically in the northern town of El Nido, which aptly translates to “the nest.” It was there in this laid-back beach-resort town that I was curious to sample the controversial soup — sort of a “when in Rome” moment. To my surprise, only a few of the dozens of restaurants in El Nido actually served bird’s nest soup. Most Filipinos don’t eat it; it’s mainly a dish they prepare for curious tourists who’ve likely heard about it from Zimmern or Bourdain. Local restaurants might not even prepare it at all if not for the main ingredient being conveniently “local”; surrounding El Nido and the nearby islands of Bacuit Bay are hundreds of limestone rock formations, where daring Filipino climbers ascend sharp cliff sides to harvest the nests from caves high above.

Pieces of the nest are stored in a cool, dry place, but then are soaked in cold water overnight before they are stewed with chicken stock and a little cornstarch. The result is a thick and hearty soup that looks, tastes and feels like egg drop soup from a Chinese takeout joint, only with soft bits of nest pieces (that don’t require much effort to chew) in lieu of egg. The thickness of the soup might suggest that the base is actually saliva, but when you realize that’s just the cornstarch in the stock, it mentally goes down easier. In fact, it goes down really easy because, to my surprise, it actually tasted quite good — minus that aftertaste of guilt for having stolen a bird’s home to enjoy it.

Final Verdict: 2 (out of 5) stars. It wasn’t the best soup I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t disgusting. It feels and tastes like a basic chicken soup with minimal ingredients that you could easily make yourself — unless you’re keen on buying into the medicinal properties of bird nests. (Personally, I didn’t feel like I had any more mojo after eating it.) If you have the means, you could go to Palawan or Hong Kong to taste for yourself — or you could just take my word for it, and try to let the swiftlets live in peace.

Erik Trinidad is a food and travel writer, and author of Fancy Fast Food: Ironic Recipes with No Bun Intended, based off his popular food humor blog.

Tags:

Comments (1854)

  1. gta v cheats xbox 360 posted 01/06/2014

    Title…

    [...]here are some hyperlinks to web-sites that we link to for the reason that we believe they are worth visiting[...]…

  2. DR-100 Price posted 01/06/2014

    Bored at work…

    I like to browse around the online world, regularly I will just go to Digg and follow thru…

  3. 2014 Coupons posted 01/06/2014

    Title…

    [...]always a major fan of linking to bloggers that I really like but really don’t get a good deal of link love from[...]…

  4. look at this site posted 01/06/2014

    Digg this…

    While checking out DIGG today I noticed this…

  5. magic of making up posted 01/08/2014

    Wikia…

    Wika linked to this website…

  6. Full Report posted 01/08/2014

    Check this out…

    [...] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]……

  7. Related……

    [...]just beneath, are numerous totally not related bogs to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[...]……

  8. trek everest posted 01/08/2014

    News info…

    I was reading the news and I saw this really interesting information…

  9. Sell House Fast posted 01/08/2014

    You should check this out…

    [...] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well [...]……

  10. prediksi bola posted 01/09/2014

    Digg this…

    While checking out DIGG yesterday I noticed this…

  11. Click Here posted 01/09/2014

    Digg this…

    While checking out DIGG yesterday I found this…

  12. Starbuzz E-Hose posted 01/09/2014

    Title…

    [...]Here is a superb Blog You may Obtain Exciting that we Encourage You[...]…

  13. financial advice posted 01/10/2014

    Title…

    [...]Sites of interest we have a link to[...]…

  14. navigate to these guys posted 01/10/2014

    Title…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated information, nonetheless really really worth taking a search, whoa did one master about Mid East has got much more problerms also [...]…

  15. home posted 01/10/2014

    Title…

    [...]below you will locate the link to some web pages that we believe you need to visit[...]…

  16. free safest online dating posted 01/10/2014

    Title…

    [...]always a massive fan of linking to bloggers that I like but do not get a good deal of link really like from[...]…

  17. male enhancement pills posted 01/11/2014

    Cool sites…

    [...]I came across a cool page that you might be interested in. Check it out[...]……

  18. cheap Hermes bag posted 01/11/2014

    Great website…

    [...]we like to honor many other articles, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some of them worthed to try[...]……

  19. webhostinghub hosting reviews posted 01/11/2014

    Digg this…

    While checking out DIGG today I found this…

  20. maleextra posted 01/12/2014

    Blogs ou should be reading…

    [...]Here is a interesting artice You could Find Interesting that we Encourage You to visit[...]……

  21. canon digital camera posted 01/12/2014

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are few links to websites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  22. Amazon posted 01/13/2014

    You should check this out…

    [...] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well [...]……

  23. windows 8 password reset posted 01/13/2014

    Title…

    [...]we came across a cool web-site that you just might delight in. Take a appear in the event you want[...]…

  24. markto win33 posted 01/13/2014

    Souls in the Waves…

    Excellent Morning, I just stopped in to visit your internet site and assumed I would say I enjoyed myself….

  25. stock price calculator posted 01/13/2014

    Title…

    [...]always a large fan of linking to bloggers that I like but really don’t get a lot of link enjoy from[...]…

  26. ipad pillows posted 01/14/2014

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some quite interesting stuff like this. If you are new to this site[...]…

  27. Sidney Robertson posted 01/14/2014

    What Is Bird’s Nest Soup? | Devour The Blog: Cooking Channel…

    [...] that is the end of this article. Here you�ll find some sites that we think you�ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]�…

  28. Great website…

    [...]we like to honor many other articles, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some of them worthed to try[...]……

  29. Jobs in Las Vegas posted 01/17/2014

    Title…

    [...]here are some hyperlinks to web-sites that we link to because we assume they’re really worth visiting[...]…

  30. how to get your ex boyfriend back…

    Great post on how to get your ex boyfriend back…

  31. alkaline water posted 01/18/2014

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to messing around on the internet and found…

  32. nordstrom coupon code 2013 posted 01/18/2014

    Online Article……

    [...]The information mentioned in the article are some of the best available [...]……

  33. free sex chat posted 01/18/2014

    Online Article……

    [...]The information mentioned in this post are valueable [...]……

  34. pest control posted 01/18/2014

    Title…

    [...]please go to the web sites we adhere to, including this a single, as it represents our picks from the web[...]…

  35. potty training tips posted 01/18/2014

    potty training tips…

    Great post on how to potty train your boy or girl…

  36. Citrine Earrings posted 01/19/2014

    Looking around…

    While I was browsing yesterday I noticed a great article concerning…

  37. Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  38. youtube downloader posted 01/19/2014

    Woman of Alien…

    Great function you might have completed, this great site is basically awesome with excellent facts. Time is God’s means of holding everything from happening at the same time….

  39. install app posted 01/19/2014

    cool post…

    I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll….

  40. Travel2be posted 01/20/2014

    Its hard to find good help…

    I am forever saying that its difficult to procure good help, but here is…

  41. Mariano Pelizzari posted 01/20/2014

    Awesome website…

    [...]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[...]……

  42. Safeguard Financial posted 01/20/2014

    Wikia…

    Wika linked to this place…

  43. Homepage posted 01/21/2014

    … [Trackback]…

    [...] Informations on that Topic: blog.cookingchanneltv.com/2013/05/02/what-is-birds-nest-soup/ [...]…

  44. Amsterdam posted 01/21/2014

    Title…

    [...]although internet sites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we feel they’re really really worth a go by way of, so possess a look[...]…

  45. Go get em kid posted 01/21/2014

    Informative and precise…

    Its difficult to find informative and precise info but here I noted…

  46. garcinia cambogia side effects posted 01/21/2014

    Title…

    [...]The data talked about inside the report are a few of the very best readily available [...]…

  47. Find Out More posted 01/22/2014

    Looking around…

    While I was browsing today I saw a excellent article about…

  48. Farrah Abraham posted 01/23/2014

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some incredibly intriguing stuff like this. If you are new to this site[...]…

  49. Анал порно posted 01/23/2014

    Анал…

    Анал порно видео бесплатно…

  50. garcinia cambogia posted 01/24/2014

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I like but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c