You definitely want your money’s worth when you’re splurging on something as luxurious as bird’s nest drinks! The identification of quality bird’s nest drinks requires different methods than raw bird’s nests. There are some methods for you to evaluate your `bottled bird’s nest drinks`, which will be explored in this article.
The balance between quality and affordability is a tough one. How much is too expensive? How do you know whether you’re buying is worth its price? Let’s find out!
We all know that this valuable nutritious drink does not come cheap. That’s why you should think twice if you see bird’s nest drinks that are cheaper than your typical restaurant drinks! While still safe to drink, especially if they’ve been certified by the proper authorities, the quality of the bird’s nest drink is probably proportionate to the price you’re paying. Are you getting leftover bits of bird’s nest, high amounts of sugar, artificial flavours or colours, or are you getting the real, healthful thing?
After all, you get what you pay for, yes?
The ingredients list stated on the bottle or box is another indicator of the quality of the bird’s nest drink. Labelling of food and food ingredients is compulsory in Malaysia under the Food Regulations 1985. This includes ingredients that are derived from biotechnological or highly refined means. Usually, such ingredients will be listed using their scientific names, making identification challenging. As bird’s nest is best consumed fresh, an ingredients list that contains no artificial colouring, preservatives, or additives – which means fewer to none weird-sounding ingredients – is among your best bets for a natural, `high-quality bird’s nest drink`.
Of course, bird’s nest drinks can be imbued with all sorts of healthy ingredients to increase its nutritional value, so a long ingredients list may actually be a good thing. If you’re looking to boost your immune system, bird’s nest drinks with dates or black goji berries may be a good bet! Better eyesight? Look for red goji berries. Better skin and complexion? Perhaps you can look for a bird’s nest drink with collagen! The possibilities are endless.
The colour of the bird’s nest strands in your bottled bird’s nest may also help you identify its quality. Is it translucent and almost ivory in colour? Or is it almost a too-perfect white, or even worse, leaching its colour into the drink? The actual colour of the bird’s nest strands in the bottle may be hard to determine, especially if the drink or its bottle is coloured. However, if the drink is clear, checking the colour of the bird’s nest may be worth a shot!
Do you like taking bird’s nest drinks because they taste sweet? It’s time to rethink that habit, because sweet means high amounts of sugar or other sweeteners, and that is not good for your health in the long run. In its original, traditional form, bird’s nest drinks often have a slightly fishy, egg-white smell, offset by light sweetness from rock sugar, dates, or more recently, honey. Don’t pay top dollar for sugared water!
The texture of the bird’s nest strands in your drink is something you can’t test until you actually open a bottle and taste it, which means this test isn’t suitable for a pre-purchase evaluation. It can still help you avoid making the same mistake next time though, so it’s worth noting.
The first thing you have to know is that the texture of the bird’s nest strands varies depending on where the nest was harvested. Cave nests tend to be crunchier and chewier, while house nests are softer, smoother and more slippery, due to the environments in which the nests were built. House nests are built in the controlled environment of a swiftlet farm building, so its texture is more standard than cave nests, which may be harvested from different caves with different mineral and ecological conditions. Swiftlet farms are also regulated in Malaysia, resulting in a minimum standard of quality.
How are the bird’s nest strands appearing in the bottle? Are they floating in the middle of the drink, rising right to the top, or sunken towards the bottom? `High-quality bird’s nest drinks` should have strands that sink to the bottom, as bird’s nest is denser than water. Buoyant strands may indicate bird’s nest of an inferior quality or, in the worst case scenario, a counterfeit product. The next time you go bird’s nest drink shopping, remember to check out those bottles with your eyes first before picking them up in order to determine this quality!
Natural products have a relatively short shelf life compared to its preserved counterparts. In ancient times, preservation is necessary due to food scarcity during certain times of the year, but now we add preservatives to make food last longer. Depending on the type of preservatives used, this might not be good news for our health. So what does it mean for expiry dates?
Bird’s nests, as dry products, can be safely stored for up to two years. Once bottled, the expiry date will depend on several factors, such as the presence of preservatives and the processing method used. Some companies use advanced sterilisation or sealing methods to package their bird’s nest drinks, which will allow the bottled drinks to achieve a long shelf life without adding preservatives. That’s why, although a short expiry date is a good indicator of quality, preservatives-free bird’s nest drinks, a long expiry date isn’t the end of the world. Do your homework on the company selling the drinks and you’ll have your answer.
It’s totally possible to identify `high-quality bird’s nest drinks` without being an expert. Based on the tests above, how does GeGe’s freshly-boiled bird’s nest drinks fare? We bet we aren’t too shabby!