Eating Bird Nests

The idea 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.

Myths say the Chinese have been eating bird 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 few comprehensive scientific studies in Asia and China in the 1990s 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 that might cause death.

To be fair to the birds and their saliva, eating peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, shellfish (Medical Daily), and getting flu shots (CDC) can also end in allergic reactions with severe symptoms for a few.

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2 Responses to Eating Bird Nests

  1. Behind the Story says:

    My grandfather-in-law, a merchant from Xiamen, made a good portion of his money importing birds nests from what was then Malaya.

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