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Bird’s Nest Soup (China)

The bird whose nest gets stolen is the swiftlets, who nest on precipitous cliff faces, making the nests very dangerous to obtain. This doesn’t deter anyone at all though. Swiftlets make nests out of their own saliva which hardens like glue when it’s exposed to the air. Chinese chefs soften the nests simply by dissolving them in water. Afterwards the nests have a gelatinous texture. Why? Bird’s nest soup is a delicacy in China who believe the soup promotes good health, especially for the skin.

They are prized in China too. (Remember how they are dangerous to obtain?) The soup may be “nutritious” but it is a rare delicacy. The nests are among the most expensive animal products that humans consume and can cost up to $3000 U.S. dollars per pound (depending on grading). Grading looks at the type of swiftlet as well as the shape of the nest and color. Usually nests are white but a red version exists, known as a “blood” nest.

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