Some retailers have been trying to sell fake nest by using all methods to maximize their profit. Few years ago, there were rubber and pig skin nest. Recently, there is coloured and glued-nest. Some people even use strips of seaweed/coral and grass nest to sell in the form of whole bird nest and biscuits.
In coloured or red cave nest, usually low cost house nest is used and is coloured to yellow or red then it is sold as high priced red cave nest or brown cave nest. It is hard to detect this fake nest’s authenticity before immersing in water. When it is immersed in water, red or yellow colouring will appear in water. It will also become soft and semi-transparent. In natural cave or house nest, its colour is natural, therefore even with water immersion and cooking, the colour will not fade or change. A cave nest needs at least 5 hours of cooking time before it is edible. Such a ‘hard’ food, how is this suitable for the elderly? Unlike cave nest, house nest only requires 45 minutes to 1 hour of cooking time and is appropriate for people of all ages.
It is often seen in whole bird nest. Flour, rubber, glue or other adhesives are added onto the surface of low-grade whole bird nest to enhance the appearance of the nest, which also increase the weight up to 30% and makes the nest hard to break. Therefore, consumers who are unaware, not only consume these additives, but also need to pay extra 30% of money.
To differentiate between the natural cave nest from the fake nest, It is stated by professional that a natural cave nest has uneven colour. Colour appeared on a raw nest, will be a mixture of yellow, red and white. The coloured part is formed by the mixture of minerals and swiftlet’s protein content in the saliva. Mineral content will not be distributed evenly on each strain of bird nest while the colour is spread evenly in a fake nest. Only cave nest comes with darker colour while house nest is white in colour.