Just the thought of eating soup made from bird saliva gives me the shivers. However, there is a history behind this Southeast Asian delicacy and there may be health benefits but also some degree of danger for a few people.
Myth has it that The Chinese have been eating this saliva for 1,500 years since the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). But another myth says China’s most famous eunuch, Admiral Zheng Hi, brought these nests made from bird saliva back to China in the 15th century.
What we do know for sure is that the Chinese have been making soup from imported swiftlet nests from Southeast Asia for centuries.
A Review of Scientific Research on Edible Bird’s Nest from the 1990s of a few comprehensive scientific studies in Asia and China revealed that this particular bird saliva appears to play a crucial role in major normal cellular processes and may help resist the effects of aging.
However, the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology reported that for a few people there is a major risk of an allergic reaction after eating Bird’s Nest Soup and death could occur.
To be fair to the birds and their saliva, eating peanuts and getting flu shots may also end in allergic reactions with severe symptoms that may lead to death—for a few.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.
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