Bird’s Nest Soup – Would You Eat This Cure-All Swiftlet Saliva?

By Mark Wiens 16 Comments
Metal canisters of different bird's nest
Metal canisters of different bird’s nest

The glitz, glamour, and shiny metal things, makes you feel more like you’re in a casino than a Bangkok restaurant. And with all the casing passing through the business, it might not be so different from a casino anyway.

Burapa Bird's Nest (บูรพารังนก เยาวราช)
Burapa Bird’s Nest (บูรพารังนก เยาวราช)

Let me make the birds nest story short for you:

Little birds, tiny swiftlets to be more precise, build nests high up in caves near the sea. The nests are crafted with swiftlet saliva (that sometimes comes with little extra goodies like sticks and feathers), that’s discharged into a lattice weave, and then dries.

It takes weeks, but finally the proud result is a little concave, sort of a quarter of a sphere, miniature dish of bird saliva, or birds nest.

Bird's nest soup combo meal
Bird’s nest soup combo meal

The bird’s nest then goes on to sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a few nests, depending on the many varieties and qualities.

Thailand, with its southern cliffs on the ocean, happens to be a pretty famous place for harvesting bird’s nest. So in that regard, Bangkok is one of the cheapest places to sample bird’s nest soup (at least a whole lot cheaper than in Hong Kong or New York City).

I won’t go into all the details, but eating bird’s nest is pretty much supposed to be a cure-all.

Burapa Bird’s Nest (บูรพารังนก เยาวราช) is a well known spot for a dose of bird’s nest soup (รังนก) in Chinatown Bangkok.

Candied gingko nuts
Candied gingko nuts

So I ordered the 2,000 THB per bowl of bird’s nest soup (รังนก). NOT. I got the second cheapest one available: 300 THB per bowl.

It came in a small white soup bowl, along with gingko nuts, a bit of high quality honey, and a soft boiled egg.

A fresh bowl of health
A fresh bowl of health

The bird’s nest soup (รังนก) is pretty much prepared just by adding hot water to the bird’s nest, bring it back to life from being hardened sticky saliva.

Bird's nest soup (รังนก)
Bird’s nest soup (รังนก)

I’m hardly an expert at bird nesting, but I guess what you’re supposed to do is crack the egg into the soup before digging in.

How does it taste?

Actually it doesn’t really taste all that much, but if it’s alright for me to say, it does sort of taste, birdy.

The soup is sort of thick and a little slimy. And within the soup are little chunks of things that are gelatin like, but really don’t have much flavor. Occasionally you’ll get a little feather in your spoon!

Bird's nest for sale
Bird’s nest for sale

After slurping down your slimy bowl of bird’s nest soup (รังนก), you’ll then have the opportunity to spend your life savings on a jar or box to take home.

Prices vary greatly, but I do know that you might need to hit the casino jackpot before you purchase some of the prize stock at Burapa.

Here is Burapa Bird's Nest, in Bangkok's Chinatown, you can't miss them
Here is Burapa Bird’s Nest, in Bangkok’s Chinatown, you can’t miss them

Here is Burapa Bird’s Nest, in Bangkok’s Chinatown, you can’t miss them

Burapa Bird’s nest (บูรพารังนก เยาวราช)

Address: 63 Plaeng Nam Rd, Samphanthawong Bangkok
Phone: 02-2217334
Open hours: 8.00 am – midnight daily
Price: 200 THB is the cheapest, I had the 300 THB bowl, but there are MUCH more expensive bowls

63 แปลงนาม แขวงสัมพันธวงศ์ เขตสัมพันธวงศ์ กทม
เปิด ทุกวัน 8.00 น. – 00.00 น.
รังนก 300 บาท

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16 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • J.R.

    1 year ago

    The “broth” & “Gelatinous bits” are Saliva & Loogies, not to be gross. And I wouldn’t trust it in Bangkok, Thailand, or any place where you piss off the waiter or anyone. I’ve eaten some pretty funky things, from bugs to Larvae to Intestines. I’d never be able to handle a Saliva soup with chunks that taste like what I have in my mouth when I have a bad cold & hack . . .

  • Morgan

    5 years ago

    I even heard that bird nest is very good for your skin. Make it healthier and glowing.
    Don’t know if its true.
    But looks like it is very mainstream in thailand if you can see a stall selling it.
    In here, you usually will find it only in a chinese restaurant.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thanks Morgan, yah in Thailand, especially in Chinatown, it’s very common.

  • Ben

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark i’m from Indonesia.
    Mark what you eat is uncleaned one. Thats why you found some leather.
    Also i find it some kind of nasty to eat that with soft boiled egg.. Eww. :D
    Mark if you love to travel and eat delicious. I suggest you to visit Indonesia.
    Indonesia food is truly delicious here. And about the nest, in Indonesia we only eat the cleaned nest, if it is not cleaned people won’t eat it. We cook it with some herbs and fruits. Fruits make it taste sweet yet we dont need to add sugar. And its delicious.
    If you are interested to try dont bother mail me, at [email protected]. Thank you

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Ben! I would really love to visit Indonesia, and try the birds nest, and many other foods there! What part of Indonesia are you from?

  • Ardi

    7 years ago

    Tasty and healthy food, Mark, good for the body. Mark, I want to ask where that residence located for exploring food in bangkok, just a clean, cheap and comfortable. Because we need enough sleep and good, so that we can enjoy Thai food which is delicious. I think Bangkok ideal spot for honeymooners, while enjoying scrumptious food, because we really like to eat tasty. Thanks, Mark … God bless you always. keep posting and eat a delicious meal and tasty.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hello Ardi, great to hear from you. Are you looking for a hotel to stay in? A good area to stay would either be Silom or Bangrak, there are lots of hotels and there plenty of good food in the area as well. Thank you for your support!

  • Matt

    7 years ago

    I tried birds nest soup at that exact same restaurant two years ago! While I didn’t love it, I did enjoy it. It’s not something that I would go out of my way to search for but if I’m in a place that is known for it I’d definitely order it again.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Great to hear that Matt, I think we felt about the same!

  • Luke K

    7 years ago

    Durian! I can’t wait Mark.

  • Thai cuisine London

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark, Nice post. I love this soup very much. When it comes to delicacies this rare soup is among the most coveted in Asia. Its appearance seems quite benign as the gelatinous mixture, a steamed bird’s nest, rests in a light chicken broth but when you discover the true contents of this unique offering it might change your mind.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing, it is definitely a delicacy!