Delicious Fungus, With A Pleasant Smack of Bird’s Nest!

29 Aug

C came home the other day announcing that the Asian grocery store near our house is going out of business and everything is 30% off… which is why alongside an enormous bag of potstickers and a package of wonton wrappers, he also had this:

Yum, bird’s nest drink! But wait, it also has WHITE FUNGUS IN IT!? My fave! The label is misleading, because bird’s nest is the LAST ingredient while white fungus is way at the top of the ingredient list, but you can’t blame the manufacturers for trying to trick me… bird’s nest is a huge selling point. But, uh, actually.

Like probably thousands of other idiots, I didn’t know that bird’s nest was something one might consider consuming until the Caves episode on Planet Earth, where bird’s nest harvesters are featured precariously plucking the nests from the cave walls. The narrator explains that the nests are made primarily from the saliva of the male cave swift, and are used in the Chinese delicacy, bird’s nest soup. Apparently this shit is REALLY EXPENSIVE which makes sense because in eating it, you are literally eating a baby bird’s cozy home. Think about that for a minute.

I have one major question that lingers, before I try it, though. Don’t birds like… poop… in their nests? I mean, I’m already trying to come to terms with the fact that I am actually about to drink a beverage containing mostly mushroom and bird saliva, but what about the ACTUAL nest part. WHAT ABOUT THE POOP!? As far as nest processing goes, I read that nests are soaked and boiled, but honestly that doesn’t really quell my fear. Neither does the fact that I made a major mistake in looking up the Wonderfarm drink before I tried it, and was presented with this photo:


I really, really wasn’t expecting it to be all chunky like that, and now I. REALLY. DO. NOT. WANT. THAT. IN. MY. MOUTH.

But this is practically a scientific experiment and sometimes science yields uncomfortable results. So cheers… to science!


Oh my god. That was horrible.

The taste was at first not so bad, pretty sweet and thick-  I thought I had gotten off pretty easily… and then a simultaneously slimy  yet chunky texture rolled down my throat and I thought I might lose it right there in the middle of my living room. Pouring it into a clear jar for further inspection proved equally, if not moreso, horrifying. If you’ve ever handled egg whites than you’re familiar with the viscosity and mucus-y texture that got dumped into that glass while I swished water around in my mouth and tried not to think too hard about what I just drank.


Really consider what’s happening in this glass right now. Suffice to say, I still have no idea what a bird’s nest actually tastes like… but whatever. I gave it a go, because a little adventure here and there is good for you. Even if it almost makes you ralph on your oriental carpet. Now, when faced with a similar beverage at the Asian grocery, or weird drink aisle at Whole Foods, you may find that you’re content just admiring it’s weirdness. You’re welcome.

One Response to “Delicious Fungus, With A Pleasant Smack of Bird’s Nest!”

  1. mattbeowulf August 29, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    I ❤ this blog. Thanks, Sal, for taking one for the Science team!

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