A Deliciously Tasty Bird’s Nest Soup Recipe

For many Westerners, Chinese bird’s nest soup is an unusual recipe, but in China and other Asian countries, this Bird’s Nest Soup Recipe is a delicacy that is often eaten for special events. So, what is bird’s nest soup, and what’s a perfect deliciously tasty Bird’s Nest Soup Recipe you can try from the comfort of your own home? Read on to discover more about this amazing recipe.

What is Bird’s Nest Soup?

Bird’s nest soup is one of the most notable parts of Chinese cuisine, and while this is not as common as some other recipes you may find, it is a delicacy, and it is linked to many benefits. People believe that eating this soup has extensive benefits and can result in prolonged youth and a healthy body. It’s also known as a potent aphrodisiac. It has a unique gelatinous texture that some people find bland and gummy, while others find quite satisfying. This soup is one of the most expensive soups in the world. And yes, this soup really does use a bird’s nest; however, the bird’s nest probably isn’t the one made of sticks that you may be imagining.

What are the Bird Nests Made Out Of?

Lots of people are turned off by this soup when they realize that bird’s nests are actually made out of bird’s saliva. This is shocking to Westerners, but you can get a lot of flavors from these nests.

The bird’s nest is not collected from a tree, but instead, it is collected from a cave, where Swiftlet birds have their nests. The most important part of these nests is the strands of saliva. The Swiftlets use their saliva as glue to hold their nests together. Instead of using twigs, the Swiftlets use their saliva, which hardens in the air and forms a nest. This process is cool to see in action, but for people not used to the idea, it likely seems unappetizing.

History of Bird’s Nest Soup

Generations of people across Asia, particularly those with Chinese ancestry, have consumed bird’s nest soup. Zhen He, an explorer, and admiral, is noted in legend as the first person to eat this soup. During the Ming Dynasty, this soup gained popularity. Historically, this soup was eaten by noble people, and it continues to be a pricey soup, so it’s definitely not something that people have every day in China and other Asian countries where this soup is prominent. Foodies often love to try this soup just to see what it’s like.

Bird’s Nest Soup Recipe

The following recipe has been inspired by the traditional bird soup found in China, but it has been adjusted to use more accessible ingredients instead of the usual bird’s nest. You can get the spirit of the recipe without all the hardships related to making the real thing. Of course, you can use a real bird’s nest in this recipe if that appeals to you.

If you are using a real bird’s nest, it will take longer to make this recipe because it is best to simmer the soup slowly so that the nest gets cooked without becoming bland. Cooking a nest can take from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the quality of your bird’s nest.

This recipe will serve around 5 to 6 people, but the yield is easily adjustable to fit your needs. It will take less than an hour to make the simplified version here, so this recipe is a great one to just throw together.


  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces chicken meat, cooked and pulled apart with a fork
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch whisked into 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


  1. In a pot or Dutch oven, heat sesame oil. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add 6 cups of water and bring the soup to a boil.
  3. Add the chicken and cook it for 10 minutes.
  4. Incorporate the cornstarch mix gradually, stirring often to avoid any lumps.
  5. Cook for 20 more minutes.
  6. Whisk the egg whites. Pour the whisked eggs into the soup gradually, and stir constantly. Cook for about 4 minutes. You can then add salt or pepper to taste.
  7. Serve right away.

The Controversy of Bird Nest Soup

Bird’s nest soup is expensive, making it inaccessible to many people, but it also has some controversy surrounding it. The bird’s nest is created by the Swiftlets. Swiftlets are endangered species, which means that as people eat their nests, the Swiftlets cannot as easily thrive, and too much depletion of the Swiftlet’s nest could result in the species becoming extinct. For this reason, China has limited where the nests can be harvested. In some places, like Thailand, people have started farming to promote more sustainable practices when getting bird’s nests. For these reasons and others, getting the ingredients for this soup is often a challenge and can be quite expensive.

Beyond the environmental concerns related to this soup, there are also concerns about how the bird’s nests are harvested. The nests are mostly found in caves, and getting to these nests can be dangerous for harvesters, who use bamboo and rope ladders to climb towards the nests. Some harvesters have died in the process of trying to get these coveted nests. Companies must hire guards to stand in front of caves to make sure that no one harvests nests they aren’t supposed to. Thus, the nest harvesting industry is quite intense and can be quite draining for people.

Can I Make This Soup Ahead?

This recipe is best enjoyed warm because the texture can change as it cools off, and when you reheat it, it just doesn’t have the same charm that it once did. However, you can prepare many of the ingredients and have them ready to go without much fuss.

Bird’s Nest Soup Substitutions

There are a lot of reasons that making this soup can be a challenge, which has impacted the recipe that I have included here. I have opted not to choose a soup using an actual bird’s nest, and this soup recipe includes egg whites instead of the bird’s nest. For a more authentic soup, you can slowly cook a real bird’s nest instead.

I love sharing the most authentic recipes possible, but I also like to prioritize recipes that people can actually bring to life in the comfort of their own homes. Even the most inexpensive type of nest can cost $2,000 per kilogram. Getting one bowl of this soup at a restaurant can cost $100.

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