WTFood: Bird’s Nest Drink

I’ve kinda had this feeling that the last two (and only) WTFoods have been a little plain. So I’m reaching to the far end of my comfort zone this week with FOCO ‘Bird’s Nest Drink’.

Now, before I get into the drink itself, I want to talk about Bird’s Nest, an actual dish popular in Southern Asia, typically as a soup. It’s not actually made of what you would typically think of as a bird’s nest (sticks, pebbles, trash, etc.). Instead it formed from the hardened saliva of a particular species of Swift that lives in caves.

You read that right. Saliva.

It’s actually an amazing evolutionary adaptation permitting these birds to live on the sheer walls of the cave, completely inaccessible to any predators. Because of this, there are serious dangers associated with obtaining the nests. I seriously recommend watching this BBC segment on the subject, it’s really interesting:

So there you have it. An expensive delicacy, made from bird spit. Who said I couldn’t make this educational?!

Now, apparently some people can find a version of this drink made with real bird’s nest, but the only one I could find lists artificial. Here’s the ingredients:

To make up for it, we’ve got that final ingredient: ‘white fungus’. Though all versions of the drink apparently include this (some kind of syrup made from the fungus), I’m still pretty skeeved out by it. So much that I haven’t actually opened the can yet.

Okay, here we go.

Tastes mildly sweet. What I’ve heard seems about right: it’s a lot like cake. A light vanilla maybe? The consistency is a little syrupy, but not off-putting. The sweetness actually builds again toward the end of the flavor profile, which is interesting.

Definitely something floating in there (though I’m used to that, having had tea with boba, various forms of jelly, and even pudding). Let’s pour this out and get a picture.

Just don't say what comes to mind, okay?

So at least I’m not bent over a toilet like I thought I’d be at about this time. The little white “nest” bits are a little stuck in my throat, which isn’t pleasant, but I’m not doing this for me – I’m doing it for you!

Now to go find a palate cleanser…

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