How to Cook Bird Nest (燕窝) 

Edible bird nest also called caviar of the East is the nutritious nests of Swiftlets that are eaten mostly for its health benefits. There are several methods and recipes for preparing bird nests. But regardless of the cooking method you opt for, the preparation process and stages are often similar, though the spices may differ.  

Bird Nest Soup Singapore 

Cleaning Bird Nest before Cooking   

It is important to clean bird nests before cooking. Every bird nests often contain some amount of rough and fine feathers. The amount of feathers differs depending on where the nest is harvested and the species of Swiftlet that built the nest.  

The cleaning process must be done carefully. The feathers should be gently removed from the nests without damaging the inner or out layer of the nest. Some nests may contain small particles of broken eggs because the nests were used to raise young Swiftlets. Carefully clean the nest and remove any feather, egg particles or droppings in the nest.  

Preparing the Nest for Cooking   

The first step is to soak the bird nests in a bowl that contains warm water for about one hour. Depending on the number of nests you intend to prepare at the same time, the bowl should be fairly big enough to contain the nests. Allow the nest to soak and spend about one hour in the warm water. The nest will expand accordingly to its maximum size.    


After you notice that the nest has expanded to a considerable size, pour the warm water away. Now you can pour new water into the expanded bird nest. At this point, the amount of water you pour into the nest will determine the thickness of the soup.  

If you intend to double boil the nest, keep the temperature of the fire fairly low, too much heat is not good for the nutrients in the nest. Bird nest is made of Swiftlets saliva and most of the nutrients are water soluble. The nest may easily melt if exposed to extreme heat. 

Cooking Bird Nests 

The actual cooking process starts after the soaked nests has expanded, taken out of the water, placed in new water, and heating starts with fairly warm fire. It is easy to observe the nest is ready when it breaks apart into strands and its aroma fills the air.   

How to cook Bird Nest Singapore

Now you can spice up the soup with any ingredient you wish. Some of the most common spices people use includes rock sugar, chicken broth, ginger, American ginseng (for a unique slight bitter taste) and red dates.   

Depending on how the nest is spiced, it could be served hot, cold, salty or sweet. However, several nests eaters prefer to enjoy the soup with rock sugar. Also, it is recommended to consume bird nests soup on empty stomach.    

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