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Greens for Good:

The Caviar of the East Why is Bird's Nest so Expensive?

Have you ever heard of a dish that uses a bird's nest and how much it costs? You may think that there's no such thing, but apparently, it costs way much.


In the realm of food, a bird's nest is one of the most costly. "Caviar of the East" is a common nickname for this dish. Several luxury bird's nest kinds may cost up to $10,000 (13,507.85 SGD) per kilogram, while the ordinary bird's nest costs up to $2,500 (1,850.78 SGD) per kilogram.


It is widely accepted in Chinese culture that birds' nests' medicinal and rejuvenating properties are beneficial to health and the skin.


So here are the reasons why this product is so expensive.


  1. It's Swallow's Saliva


These nests are built of bird saliva, despite their name indicating they're made from nesting materials like leaves and twigs. Swiftlets produce edible nests from hardened saliva, which humans may eat. Many people like bird nests because of their excellent nutritional content and delicious taste.


  1. The Procedure


People in Malaysia's Madai caverns, known as "Ida'an," have collected bird nests for decades. A helmet is all that these collectors have to keep themselves safe as they ascend heights of over 500 feet to find the nests. According to other accounts, several collectors who ventured inside the cave never returned.


  1. The collection happens three (3) times a year.


Every year, once the birds have rebuilt their nests, this risky procedure occurs three times: spring, summer, and fall. The birds spend 30 to 35 days building each nest.


Younger guys will use ropes attached to the cave's ceiling to climb out of the cave and carry out this challenge. To get to the cave floor, the ropes are tied to handcrafted bamboo rattan ladders and poles by the guys inside the cave. Collectors may then use these ladders, lowered into the cave, and raised again.



  1. Quick but cautious harvesting


Before the birds deposit their eggs, collecting is necessary to prevent harm and ensure that the birds continue to lay eggs throughout the year.

Bird's nests that aren't entirely matured can't be sold; thus, collectors must exercise caution while selecting nests. Usually, when the female birds search for food throughout the day, they perform this procedure.


  1. The cleaning process


Feathers and bird saliva form the foundation of a bird's nest. Before they can be sold, these dark and filthy nests need to be cleaned. Commercial cleaners use bleaching compounds to quicken the cleaning.


The kind of bird and its food influence the nest that the bird builds. In addition, the type of swallow and the bird's nutrition also have a role. Depending on the kind, they may range from light to dark brown.


So why does it cost so much money? No money goes to the laborers who put their lives in danger to get this vital substance.


  1. The profits go to China.


Before being sold, these nests are sent to China. As a result, the vast bulk of the money is sent to China rather than the individuals responsible for collecting the nests.






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