Bird nest soup anyone?
The picture above shows how Tang Palace in Shanghai serves bird nest soup – in a papaya.
In Bangkok, Scala serves it in a coconut.
Swifts make their nests using interwoven strands of their saliva.
The gelatinous and semi-transparent substance is much sought after by the Chinese for its rich nutrients that are said to enhance beauty and health.
80% of these bird nests are supplied by Indonesia but some enterprising Malaysians have set up bird houses to attract these swifts.
Almost all the shop lots in Batang Berjuntai town in Kuala Selangor have been turned into homes for swifts by breeders who seem to be capitalizing on every available space for their activity.
There were complaints about the bird droppings and the noise caused by tweeters that are switched on round the clock to attract the birds.
Malaysia Airport Holdings will carry out a three-month Environmental Impact Study on swifts and their impact on bird strikes.
Malaysian Federation of Associations of Bird’s Nest Merchants doesn’t seem perturbed.
In the meantime people are shelling out hundreds of thousands of Ringgits to build bird houses.
There are even books written on the subject.
A conference entitled Asia Bird Nest Conference was even held recently.