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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  1. 1.How to pre-soak and expand bird’s nest? It is necessary to have bird’s nest soaked and expanded before stewing. “soak & expand” means to soak bird’s nest in cool and clean water so that it can be totally infiltrated with water and absorb maximum water content. Different types of bird’s nest have different soaking time, varying from 3-7 hours. Wild/cave nests require at least 24 hours of soaking time. Bird’s nest will expand after soaking. Minimal amount of feathers might be found in pure natural bird’s nest after expansion. Use tweezers to remove them or rinse the bird’s nest several times.


     Procedure:

    1. 1.Soak bird’s nest for some time first (different types of bird’s nest need different time of soaking), the water should cover the whole bird’s nest so that it can absorb maximum water content. Refresh soaking water once or twice during soaking.

    2. 2.Use tweezers to remove the feathers. (For the elderly or persons having bad eye sight, perform this by placing bird’s nest on a piece of white cloth to reduce tiredness).

    3. 3.Put the soaked bird’s nest in a strainer to filter the water.

    4. 4.Rinse the bird’s nest several times. Tear off the bird’s nest tissue and wash away the impurities with running water.


  1. 2.How to cook bird’s nest? All types of bird’s nest should be prepared with indirect heat (i.e., stewing or steaming). One should take caution not to boil the nests. Please cook the nests after they have been pre-soaked (see above for pre-soaking).

     Stewing Tips:

    1. When stewing, the water must cover the entire bird’s nest, but the condensed level depends on individual’s preference.

    2. The water level inside the stewing mug (including bird’s nest, water and other ingredients) should not be higher than 70% of the stewing mug’s height. The water level will rise once the heated ingredients expand.

    3. Bring water to boil, then reduce the heat down to simmer.

    4. The ‘mitogenic stimulation factor’ contained in bird’s nest is active at around 80 degree Celsius. It will lose its effectiveness if direct boiling is applied on bird’s nest causing damage to its proteins at high temperature. Therefore, always remember to apply low heat to simmer bird’s nest and keep the temperature inside the stewing pot at around 80 degree Celsius.

    5. You may choose to stew the bird’s nest with an electronic stewing pot which is safe and convenient. All you need to do is to adjust the heat intensity to low level.

    6. Add rock sugar at the end of stewing process to make the bird’s nest taste better.

    7. For hygienic consideration, please consume bird’s nest with a thoroughly clean spoon. Reheat the bird’s nest when necessary. However, please do not make use of microwave oven since high temperature will spoil the nutrient of bird’s nest.  


  1. 3.Is there any special method to treat bird’s nest corner? Yes. It is preferable to cut the corners out from the bird’s nest body and soak them separately to allow longer soaking time. Bird’s nest corner is the first saliva secreted by swiftlet and becomes the hardest portion on both edges of bird’s nest; therefore, it has the highest viscosity and needs longer soaking time (about 6 to 8 hours). In order to make it more water absorbable, it should be torn to into smaller pieces before soaking. Bird’s nest corner has bigger expandability than bird’s nest body and has better mouth-feel.


  1. 4.Why stains are found on bird’s nest? Swiftlets may accidentally break the eggs during hatching and the nest is thus stained. Although stains do not look good, they will disappear after soaking. The presence of stains does not affect the nutritional value of bird’s nest.


  1. 5.Why red bird’s nest is red in color? There are some misconceptions about red bird’s nests. The most common misconception is that the red-colored bird nests are formed by swiftlets which vomit their blood to build the nests. Another common misconception is that the red bird nests are produced by a different species of swiftlet which consumes different kinds of water and/or food.

    However, contrary to these popular misconceptions, swiftlets do not vomit blood, neither do they consume different kinds of water and food. All the so called “blood-red cubilose” on the market is fake.  All the blood red nests are ordinary bird’s nests that have been dyed, resulting in excessive nitrite levels. (http://foodsafety.suencs.com/archives/18586). Some dishonest vendors apply red dye to their bird’s nests in order to fetch higher prices. Nitrite is used as a preservative in curing meat, and to make meat redder. (http://foodsafety.suencs.com/archives/18686). Hence, red bird nests may be harmful rather than beneficial to humans.

    For the foregoing reasons, BBNest only sells only the highest quality, pure natural, white bird’s nests. 


  1. 6.Is cave bird’s nest better than farmed bird’s nest? No. Cave bird’s nests are more limited in quantity; and hence, the higher prices. However, unknown to many consumers, cave nests are not better than farmed nests. In fact, cave nests generally contain more foreign materials and feathers than farmed nests. As a result, cave nests are generally darker in color than farmed nests. Cave nests also have naturally thicker texture.


  1. 7.Do bird’s nests that contain feathers have substandard quality? No. It is normal for bird’s nest containing some hair feathers. Since bird’s nest is the home of swiftlets, it is natural that detached feathers would fall on the nest during swiftlets’ activities. Our workers meticulously and thoroughly remove these feathers. However, it is possible that a very minimal amount of feathers would remain due to their microscopic size. Bleaching is the only way to make all the feathers disappear. Bird’s nests that do not contain feathers at all, most likely have undergone chemical bleaching. BBNest does not use any chemical or beaching agents in our processes. We sell only pure natural nests that are processed with chemical free and bleach free methods.


  1. 8.Why are cracks found on bird’s nest? For easy removing of feathers from bird’s nest, workers may squeeze out narrow space from the nest tissue to pick out the feathers. However, this will not affect the quality of bird’s nest.


  1. 9.Is that the color of bird’s nest the whiter the better? Bird’s nests have dark, light, bright and dim appearances. Their natural color is yellowish or ivory. This is because the food they eat is not purely white, and so is their saliva. If the bird’s nest’s color is pure white, it may have probably been bleached.


  1. 10.What makes bird’s nest have rejuvenation efficacy? It is believed that the water-soluble protein of bird’s nest contains both Mitogenic Stimulation Factor and Epidermic Growth Factor which some people believe can boost cell growth and tissue repair, as well as regulate the function of the endocrine system, thus help maintain fine skin.


  1. 11.Is old stock of bird’s nest better than fresh bird’s nest? No. Bird’s nest comprises mainly of protein. The nutritional value of bird’s nest will decrease after stored for a long time. It is suggested not to store bird’s nest for over one year. 


  1. 12.Bird’s nest dissolved in water after stewing. Is it fake ? The stewing of bird’s nest does not require long time. The stewing time differs according to the type of bird’s nest.


  1. 13.Why use indirect heat to cook bird’s nest? It is hard to control the fire temperature when applying direct boiling. When bird’s nest is heated to high temperature, its water-soluble proteins may be destroyed, losing its nutritional value. Simmering keeps the temperature of bird’s nest at around 80 degree Celsius. This way, the water-soluble proteins are preserved - the aroma and nutrition of bird’s nest are retained.


  1. 14.Why we have to stew bird’s nest with rock sugar, but not brown sugar or white sugar? According to Chinese medicine practitioners, rock sugar is the purest amongst other sugar. They believe that rock sugar is nourishing and can lubricate lung and supplement body energy. White sugar is easy to induce phlegm and brown sugar is hot in nature. So, rock sugar is the best sweetening agent to stew bird’s nest.


  1. 15.How to make rock sugar syrup? First, put some rock sugar in a cooking pot and add hot water. Stir from time to time while simmering until the rock sugar melts completely. Pour the rock sugar syrup into a bottle after it cools down and place in a refrigerator. Add rock sugar syrup to stewed bird’s nest when served, according to your own taste. Generally, we recommend using 20 grams of rock sugar for every cup (250 ml) of water.


  1. 16.How to prepare bird’s nest congee? First, stew bird’s nest with low heat. When done, mix it with a pot of cooking congee right before it reaches its boiling point. Boil together for about 3 to 5 minutes.


  1. 17.What is the appropriate amount of bird’s nest for consumption?

    1. 1.1 to 2 tablespoonfuls daily, or 1 to 2 bowls weekly.

    2. 2.Bird’s nest is best absorbed when taken with an empty stomach, preferably in the morning.

    3. 3.Consuming bird’s nest continuously increases its efficacy.

    4. 4.For beginner, it is suggested to take bird’s nest daily. Frequency can be lowered after a certain period (say half a year). If taken every other day, stick to consistency.


  2. 18.What are the things we have to take note when taking bird’s nest?

    1. 1.It is recommended to cook bird’s nest by steaming (indirect heat) method. Direct cooking or boiling will lead to loss of its nutrient.

    2. 2.Bird’s nest should be steamed without adding any flavorings.

    3. 3.Steamed bird’s nest soup and bird’s nest congee are common for serving at home.

    4. 4.When bird’s nest is served salty, add salt right before serving. If salt is added at the beginning of steaming, salt will decompose bird’s nest evolving shrinkage and crispy results. You may choose to steam bird’s nest together with chicken soup or mushroom soup instead.

    5. 5.When bird’s nest is served sweet, add rock sugar syrup 15 minutes before steaming is done so as to preserve bird’s nest’s quality. You may choose to prepare the serving together with coconut juice or almond juice.


  3. 19.Is it seasonal to consume bird’s nest? No. Consumption of bird’s nest is fine for all seasons. In summer, serving of refrigerated bird’s nest together with fresh fruits or cool milk is delicious and healthy. In winter, serve bird’s nest soup together with meat can produce nourishing and stomach warming effect.


  1. 20.Can bird’s nest be consumed when a person is in “Cool” or “Warm” body characteristic? Yes. Bird’s nest is mild and calm in nature with plain taste. Therefore, it can be taken by any person having either “Cool” or “Warm” body characteristic.


  1. 21.Can a person catch a cold from consuming bird’s nest? No. According to ‘The Dictionary of Chinese Medication’, people having their lungs and stomachs in cold and weak state are not advisable to take bird’s nest. Therefore, a person suffering from cold should eat bird’s nest only after recovery.


  1. 22.What is the best way to preserve fresh bird’s nest? Store the bird’s nest in the vegetable compartment of a refrigerator after purchase, or, on the day of purchase, and then put it inside a crisper or an airtight box. Bird’s nest can be stored for a long time in this way. 

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