Buyer's knowledge poor
A recent poll of 300 people by traditional chinese medicine (TCM) retailer Eu Yan Sang found that 72 percent consumed bird's nest. But 66 percent of respondents had no idea how the price or quality of bird's nest was determined.
"When preparing and eating bird's nest at home, you can tell how authentic it is by observing its color and smell. When it is soaked in water, the strips of saliva should expand and turn transparent. But the water in which it is soaked should remain clear. Warning: Bird's nests which have an extremely white color may have been bleached.
The real nests will also have a fishy tinge because of the swiftlet's saliva.
After cooking, the aroma should be like that of egg white.
Note that counterfeits will reek of additives."
- Mr Ang, herbalist at Eu Yan Sang