Here are the 10 most reliable method to tell if you have purchased a genuine or fake bird’s nest.
1. Transparency A real bird nest looks semi transparent while a fake bird nest will not be transparent at all, some may even appear to have a reflective surface from the chemicals applied onto it. Some use pork skin or tree sap in Thailand to fake it.
2. Fragility The biological make-up of a real bird’s nest is such that, when you crumble it between your fingers, the nest breaks down into small specks or dust-sized pieces. A fake bird nest will break into large chunks.
3. Shape and Appearance Real bird’s nest have no distinctive shape, occasionally you may also be able to spot small feathers stuck within the fibres. Whereas for fake bird’s best, it has a bumpy surface and look identically uniform and sometimes with slight smell of medication.
4. Absorptivity It is a common practise to soak bird’s nest for a couple of hours before cooking it. The real bird’s nest will bloat to about twice its original size while a fake bird nest will show no significant growth in size. There may even be foreign particle appearing after soaking a fake bird nest.
5. Post-soak shape: Fake nests are more uniform. After about 30 minutes of soaking it, a real birdnest transform into a gelatinous, formless shape. The fibers of the nest will be somewhat visible, but not nearly as uniform as they were when they were dry. You may also find a feather or two; this is completely normal. Fake bird’s nests will maintain a uniform shape during the soaking process and will have a minor chemical or fatty/fried smell. The surface of the fake bird’s nest will be bumpy.
6. Coloring After soaking the bird’s nest, a genuine bird nest will have its water clear throughout the soaking process while the fake bird nest will shown signs of decoloring into the water due to artificial coloring.
7. Foams Place the bird nest in a bowl of water and stir it, real bird’s nest will cause foam to appear on the surface of the water while the water remains clear throughout. A fake bird’s nest will not show any foam on the water surface, the water will instead become murky and cloudy.
8. Structural Observation Under Microscope Use a microscope if you have one to see the patterns of the bird nest’s fibre. A pure bird nest will look unevenly structured while a fake bird nest will look coarsely distributed and transparent (neater fibres).
9. Fake Bloodnest Arguably the most prized bird’s nest type is the blood nest, a red bird’s nest thought to be colored by blood in the swiftlet’s saliva which is untrue. Once your soak is done, the real red bird’s nest will retain its blood-red color. The red coloring of a fake bird’s nest will bleed into the water, a sign that artificial colors were used to tint the nest.