Bird’s nest takes so much time to prepare. Many of us are tempted to just buy a box of prepared bird’s nest drinks and grab a bottle whenever we feel like it. It’s so convenient! The question is, does that convenience come at a price?
Certainly, the price of ready-to-drink bird’s nest is more expensive than raw bird’s nest for the same amount of this precious ingredient, but it saves you time. What are the other hidden costs that you might want to know before your next shopping trip?
What is Fresh Bird’s Nest?
Before we can answer that question, first we must ask ourselves, what constitutes fresh bird’s nest? That depends on whether you’re thinking about raw bird’s nest or `bird’s nest drinks`.
Raw bird’s nest almost never reaches us fresh, considering the tedious harvesting, cleaning, and packaging involved before it can reach you. That’s okay. Raw bird’s nest is a dry ingredient that can keep for a long time if stored properly.
When it comes to ready-to-drink bird’s nest drinks or soup, fresh bird’s nest might mean how soon your dish arrives at your table ready to be eaten. It’s freshest when you prepare and eat it yourself of course, though ordering from restaurants is the next best thing. This can range from fresh-from-the-kitchen restaurant-prepared bird’s nest to bird’s nest that was prepared earlier, without any preservatives that might have preserved its shelf life.
What is ready-to-drink Bird’s Nest?
Put simply, when it comes to ready-to-drink bird’s nest, you can just grab and drink whenever you want it. While you can get the same fuss-free convenience if you order bird’s nest from a restaurant, you’d still have to go to the outlet, order, and wait for it to be prepared and packed for you – or wait for an online delivery service to deliver your order to you. That’s not instant!
For this reason, instant bird’s nest is often sold in sealed bottles so that you can just grab and go.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Control Over Ingredients
You know and control all ingredients that go into your bird’s nest drinks if you make them yourself. The ingredients list is less certain when you’re ordering bird’s nest outdoors, but since bird’s nest in Malaysia is typically only carried by high-end restaurants or specialty cafes, you can probably rest assured about its quality.
The same can’t be said about ready-to-drink bird’s nest: the only thing you can control is whether you buy it or not! Thankfully, Malaysia’s Food Act & Food Regulations require such products to state their list of ingredients, so you can still make an informed choice about your purchase. Weird-sounding ingredients or chemical preservatives are a big no-no. A high percentage of sugar is also a no-no. Basically, the shorter and more straightforward an ingredients list is, the safer the bird’s nest drink is for you.
Needless to say, fresh bird’s nest is fresher than instant bird’s nest. For some foods, freshness is negligible, but other foods are best taken fresh. Bird’s nest typically falls within the latter category, but advancement in technology (hello, fridges!) now allow us to store bird’s nest for longer periods of time. Raw bird’s nest should be kept in an air-tight container in a dry place. If home-made, `fresh bird’s nest drinks` can stay fresh for up to 1 week, as long as they’re kept in a dry, air-tight, lidded container and refrigerated.
Its shelf life can be further enhanced by the use of preservatives. Natural preservatives, like salt, is safe to be used in moderation, but there are chemical preservatives around that aren’t as safe for our bodies. Instead of preservatives, some ready-to-drink bird’s nest drinks utilise advanced bottle-sealing technology to slow down deterioration. This means there may be no preservatives in the ready-to-drink bird’s nest drink itself. Always read the label to make your decision!
You’ll also have to consider convenience from two perspectives: cooking time and transportability. `Fresh bird’s nest drinks`, especially those that you prepare yourself, are very time-consuming, requiring hours of cooking and a few more hours of soaking and cleaning before that – not ideal for busy ladies! Even once you’re done with the actual cooking, you might be worried about portioning correct amounts, your container spilling, or any other unnecessary stressors that you really don’t need in your life.
Ready-to-drink bird’s nest, of course, is designed to be as convenient as possible. No cooking, easy storage, easy opening, and even easier consumption…just open and drink! The most troublesome part of instant bird’s nest is probably finding a place to throw away the bottle. You can’t get more convenient than that.
Packaged = Preserved?
As we grow more conscious of our food and health, we try to make the best choices we can whenever possible. Unprocessed foods (whole foods), or at most minimally-processed foods, are often touted as healthier and better for your body, and at least two health-conscious fads follow this belief: the paleo and the clean eating habits. A cleaner diet is proven to be healthier and more filling for you. If you believe that and want to try it, say bye-bye to your soda, branded potato chips, tomato sauce, biscuits…notice a trend? All those items have long shelf lives, and they’re packaged really, really well.
So does packaged mean preserved? Not necessarily, although you run a higher risk if you purchase generic brands (hint: long expiry dates is one give-away!). As aforementioned, there are sealing technologies that allows food to be packaged in a way that slows down spoilage. Sometimes, food is packaged purely for ease of transport to you, the final consumer. Not everyone can bring their own container and wait for us to fill it up with bird’s nest, after all! The expiry date is usually a good indicator as to whether preservatives have been added or not.
Is There a Middle Ground?
Is there a sweet spot between convenience and freshness? GeGe’s answer is YES! This middle ground is why we’re here. GeGe always believes that Fresh is Best. That’s why we’re committed to bringing you the best of both worlds: freshness and convenience, all in a bottle.
Our `freshly-boiled bird’s nest drinks` contain no artificial colouring, preservatives, or additives, and a fresh batch is cooked and bottled every day according to your orders only. They’re then shipped off to your doorstep as soon as the next day. All you have to do is place your order and we’ll do all the work for you. It doesn’t get any more convenient and fresh than this!