On my way to Hong Kong, from South Korea I thought about what interesting ingredient to write about this Wednesday- there are so many of them in Asia! Medicines are made are not only made from plants, fruits and stones but from animals and animal products as well!!
I am sure some of you have heard about the famous and super luxurious Chinese medicine- bird nest, which is also a delicatessen made into a soup and even eaten with fried rice and deserts! I was intrigued to find out about this bizarre ingredient when I first visited China three years ago and this time I decided to write something about it, to inform you of its existence.
It was extremely difficult to take pictures of the bird nest because most of the Chinese pharmacies were quite antagonistic when it came to photographic their products. Buying an entire pack and photographing it back in the room was also out of the question because the cheapest one costs around HK $ 4,000, or 400 Euros! Still I walked and looked for a couple of hours and luckily I found one shop that was selling individual pieces so I bought four of them (two less expensive and two more expensive ones, as I was curious to learn about the difference between them). Turns out one was smellier than the other and the shape was more perfect- not quite sure what that means?
According to research I did in the afternoon I am not quite sure is the bird nests are a myth or truly provide health benefits. The companies selling them swear on medical research that confirms the major health contribution to the body. These benefits range from kidney and liver health maintenance to anti-aging for women. This in turn is because of a protein present in the saliva of the bird that makes the nest.
On the other hand, an article that I read from BBC states what a lucrative business harvesting bird nests is in China and other Asian neighboring countries- it literally quotes someone who claims that with bird nest harvesting you can make money from nothing.
So the evidence is contradictory and I personally do not have the expertise to form an opinion about bird nests’ health benefits. Maybe you can help me? All I know is that I am not adventurous to try and see for myself if they really work (the idea gives me goose-bumps!)
Still do let me know what you think, by posting a comment here, on the indigomemoirs Facebook page or tweet me @indogomemoirs!