The town of Ranong in Thailand is undergoing a construction boom, but the new homes are for birds, not people. And not just any old birds; they are for the tiny swifts whose nests are used in bird’s nest soup. The idea is to construct buildings that mimic the swiftlets’ natural living conditions; the dark, damp caves of South East Asia’s tropical regions.
The boom of birds’ nest factories in Asia is a blessing for the species, which up until now had suffered from over-eager nest hunters. Other wild animals like rhinos, sharks and tigers are still being hunted.
It is hard to believe that a nest made of bird saliva could be edible, let alone considered a delicacy, but some call them “white gold” and birds’ nests are worth around 2,000 euros per kilo. The Chinese believe that birds’ nest soup improves digestion, increases libido, strengthens the voice, helps asthma, maintains youth and boosts the immune system.
Whether or not that is true, it is certainly full of proteins and amino acids.