By Appearance

Depending on the environment and the swift's mineral intake content, the nests will vary in color

White Soft, smooth Everyone Nourish and promote youthful complexion, boost immunity
Golden Crisp Pregnant women, middle-aged people Increased mineral contents
Red Crisp Pregnant women, anemia patients, those who need replenishment after surgery Maximum mineral content, replenishes blood and calcium content

By Country of Origin

Due to environment conditions, edible bird's nest originate from South East Asia.

Indonesia Texture is smoother, softer and cleaner with fewer impurities as the majority of the nests from Indonesia are house nests. Indonesia produces approximately 80% of the world's supply. Prices are generally lower.
Thailand These birds nests are thicker and firmer with higher density requiring more soaking and cooking time. As the majority of the nests are cultivated from the caves and production volume is small, the prices are generally higher.
Malaysia With higher production of feather prime nests bird's nest from Malaysia are usually processed into cakes and prices are low.
Vietnam With higher quality and richer taste and aroma due to ideal environment conditions bird's nest from Vietnam are limited in supply and prices are higher.

By Size / Shape

Being natural, edible bird's nest come in different shapes and sizes:

Cup (whole nest) Large to extra large size
Triangle Medium size
Strips Broken pieces from a whole bird's nest
Cakes Tiny bird's nest pieces shaped into the size and shape of a biscuit

By Terrain

Edible bird's nests are harvested from two places thus leading to the following classification.

House Nest Swifts build their nests inside a house in urban areas near the sea where the environment is ideal and more controlled; therefore leading to fewer impurities and feathers in the bird's nest.
Cave Nest Swifts build their nests on mountain and rock caves and cliffs near the sea. The natural climate and environment affects the texture which tends to be stiffer and harder. But generally cave nests contain more foreign materials and feathers than house nests.

By Pre-Processing Quality

Type of edible bird's nest prior to processing.

Premium (Aerodramus Fuciphagus) nests 95% saliva and 5% feathers
Feather prime nests 50% saliva and 50% feathers
Grass nests 5% saliva and grass and twigs

How to Choose Bird's Nest

Size and volume

Due to its natural formation, bird's nest varies in size and weight. Everything else constant, larger bird’s nests are more expensive. Size does not affect the nutritional values but wider nest are rare and there are more layers of saliva leading to higher expandability.

Color and purity

White nests have a slight ivory color; golden nests have a slight beige or golden color; red nests have a red color. When soaked in water, bird’s nests will expand and turn into a lighter color and the thread become transparent. The water used for soaking shall remain transparent. If the bird’s nest is extremely white and shiny, it may have been bleached and this will greatly reduce the nutrition content.

Taste and humidity

There should be a slight aroma of egg white when cooked. Storage for dry bird’s nest is easier as it can be stored in room temperature. If the moisture content of the bird’s nest is high then the chances of mould is higher, therefore it should be stored in a refrigerator or a cool place.

Price and trustworthiness

Price is dependent on the above factors. The best choice is to purchase from trustworthy shops with quality assurance. Unreasonably and extremely low prices may indicate that the bird’s nest may be chemically treated, which may have reduced the health benefits or even be harmful to your health, or not even be real.

Density and volume after soaking

Nests with thinner threads, fewer gaps and thicker layers will expand more after soaking. Bird’s nest from different areas and types has different expansion ratios.

Real vs. Fake

Fake bird's nest have the following characteristics.

  • low translucency and is reflective
  • bleach, fishy, or acidic smell
  • tight body, glossy surface, no cracks
  • hard, tough, plastic substance
  • becomes sticky once soaked