Friday, November 27, 2009

Not easy to make the right choice

SWITLFETS make their nests using interwoven strands of their saliva. The gelatinous and semi-transparent substance is much sought after by the Chinese for its rich nutrients that are said to enhance one’s health and beauty.

They are easily available in most Chinese medicine halls as bottled nests in sugary soup and boxes of whole nests. Malaysian Federation of Associations of Bird’s Nests Merchants secretary Mah Swee Lye, shared some tips on how to choose the bird’s nests

First and foremost, no two bird’s nests are the same. “If they are genuine ones made by the swiftlets, their shapes and sizes vary,” he said. Secondly, they retain a fishy smell.
“Flies are attracted to the pile of nests we harvested, showing that genuine bird’s nests really do have an odour,” Mah said. Thirdly, the whiter it is, the more cautious one should be because it might have been bleached.

“It’s okay if the nest contains tiny bits of feather — this is a sure sign that the nest is made by swiftlets,” Mah said. While it is not easy to differentiate genuine and fake bird’s nests just by looking, he advised consumers to shop for reliable brands.

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