Swifts are aerial birds that rarely set foot on the ground, unless by accident and spend most of their time soaring in the sky at high speeds, or clinging to vertical surfaces. They nest on the dark walls of caves and build their nests during the breeding season in the form of a small cup high up in caves.
The quality of bird’s nests is dependent on how contaminated it is. The cleanest bird’s nests are usually harvested at the beginning of the harvesting season, and that is the most expensive grade. The lower grade bird’s nests are harvested after the baby swift had grown up and left the nests. These nests are usually contaminated with lots of feathers and twigs, and there’s lots of cleaning to do.
Its impurities are picked out with a pair tweezers, and you spend hours doing it with a leveled concentration. That is why people are willing to pay for premium top-grade bird’s nest. Coupled with the time when harvesting these bird’s nests high up in remote dark caves, and not all bird’s nests are edible.
For centuries, Chinese believed that bird’s nest can act as a tonic to promote cell growth and tissue repair as well as strengthens the body’s immune system. The bird’s nests that we eat are actually made up of interwoven strands of hardened saliva of the swifts, and these birds’ saliva is amongst the most expensive foods in the world.
Five hundred dollars for fifty grams saliva, it is believed that regular consumption of bird’s nest can help maintain a youthful, radiant, and silky-smooth complexion.The complete structure is built within thirty-five days by the male swiftlet to accommodate one to two eggs and its shallow cup shape does not exceed the size of a human hand.
The nests are harvested three times a year and the swiftlets are given time to breed and raise their young in the nest before removal. The original discovery of this as a culinary treat is unknown but it has been considered part of Chinese culture for over 1,500 years.