Why Bird's Nest Soup Is So Expensive | So Expensive

  • Published on Feb 25, 2019
  • Bird's nest soup is a delicacy in Asia made from the dissolved nests of swiftlets, a small bird native to Southeast Asia. A bowl of bird's nest soup can cost more than $100 at some restaurants, due to growing demand and a limited number of wild birds. The soup is popular in China, where it's believed to have healing properties. We stopped by the Oriental Garden in NYC's Chinatown to taste it for ourselves.
    Following is a transcript of the video:
    Narrator: Bird nest soup. It's a gelatinous mixture, made from, you guessed it, bird nests. You can find it on the menu at certain Chinese restaurants like at Oriental Garden, here in New York City. But it'll cost you.
    Cici: For one person it costs $32.95, and for four people it costs $128.
    Abby: And that's normal pricing?
    Cici: Yeah, that's totally normal.
    Abby: Wow.
    Narrator: So, what makes it so expensive? People in China have been eating bird nests for more than a thousand years. It's believed to have near magical properties, from curing cancer to helping children grow taller.
    And the main ingredient? The partially dissolved nest of a swiftlet, a small bird native to Southeast Asia. Three times a year, swiftlets build nests out of their sticky saliva on cave walls and cliff sides, where they raise their young. It's the high cost of these saliva nests that makes bird's nest soup so expensive.
    Here in New York City's Chinatown, for example, a couple dozen were selling for more than a thousand dollars.
    Until recently, the most common way of getting the nests was by harvesting them from the wild.
    Creighton: There are many dangers involved in harvesting nests from caves. They would climb up without really any safety nets or harnesses, that kind of thing, and just try and extract the nests from the cave wall, and they'd be, in some cases, many stories up.
    Narrator: But for many, the risk was worth the reward.
    Creighton: Harvesters would often try and collect as many nests as they could, regardless of whether they were fully formed, and they would just take them repeatedly.
    Narrator: In some regions, swiftlets couldn't compete with the rate of harvest, and so their populations plummeted. Between 1957 and 1997, the number of swiftlets declined by as much as 88% in parts of Southeast Asia, largely due to over-harvesting. And as a result, the price of bird's nests skyrocketed.
    Creighton: The price for bird nests, I would say, peaked in around the early 1990s.
    Narrator: Around that time, nests were selling for up to $1,000 a pound. Adjusting for inflation, that would be around $2,000 today. Those high prices earned bird nests the title "Caviar of the East."
    And they also fueled a new industry. You could call it hospitality.
    Scores of people across Southeast Asia looking to cash in on the bird nest trade started investing in swiftlet hotels.
    Creighton: People just found that if there was a vacant building or, say, the upper story of a building was uninhabited, then swiftlets would make their way inside, and they would start just using the buildings as their nesting sites. Then these rumors kind of emerged over time about how much money you could make swiftlet farming really overnight.
    Narrator: And they weren't just rumors. In Myanmar, for example, swiftlet hotels can bring in at least $6,000 a year, while the average annual income is just over $1,100. And the more swiftlets you draw in, the more money you make.
    George: According to locals, in order to successfully farm for the bird's nests, there are a few factors involved.
    Factor one: The locals believe that abundance is related to charity. The more charitable and kind they are to the community, the more the birds will come to build nests in their houses.
    Factor two: technology. To attract the swiftlets to build nests, the house keepers have to employ the right technology using speakers to continuously broadcast the correct frequency of the chirping swiftlets at the optimum volume.
    Factor three: they believe in showing care and concern to the swiftlets. They will be careful not to harvest the nests if there are eggs in the nests.
    Narrator: In the last few decades, the swiftlet farming industry has exploded. From 1998 to 2013, the estimated number of swiftlet hotels grew from 900 to 60,000 in Malaysia alone. But while this increased supply, it didn't exactly slash the price. That's because in the last couple of decades or so, demand has also increased.
    #Birds #Soup #BusinessInsider
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    Why Bird's Nest Soup Is So Expensive | So Expensive

Comments • 1 356

  • Goddess Ahh
    Goddess Ahh 13 minutes ago

    Great... Make another animal go extinct so we can keep engorging ourselves.

  • Dare Valentine
    Dare Valentine 20 hours ago

    You guys should've taken out the taste testing part. Sounds stupid. Oh it doesn't taste like anything,oh but it's soo good. Clearly she's falsifying her story bc a camera is in her face. Typical American

  • Loki Lape
    Loki Lape Day ago

    Why is the narrator whispering? Is this supposed to be a secret?

  • Revert Medina
    Revert Medina Day ago

    I'm not surprised! Where else would eat this if not in China👎😩😩😩

  • unicorn kitty
    unicorn kitty Day ago

    My mom has been feeding Me this for my whole life and I didn't even know

  • kevin Trinh
    kevin Trinh 2 days ago +2

    The amount of red vinegar she put in there literally destroyed all the flavor lol

  • mark bautista
    mark bautista 4 days ago +1

    A lot of factories actually sell dried up human sperm...

  • vin 950
    vin 950 5 days ago

    nasty... eating bird boogers.... what idiot came up with this idea? and how on earth did he convince so many other idiots to eat boogers?

  • Padpad Show
    Padpad Show 6 days ago +2

    In our place once you disturbed the their nests that still used by them you will get fever. I don't know if that's true but the elders said it.

  • The Majestic Uni
    The Majestic Uni 6 days ago

    If it’s SO hard to get, why not make a farm?

    • The Majestic Uni
      The Majestic Uni 5 days ago

      Arif P, I have 2 birds at home. One is named raven and the other is a dove, and...her name is dove. They aren’t fit for birds at pets, but I kept them anyways. And they are very well alive.

    • Arif P
      Arif P 5 days ago

      try it.. all the bird will die if u jail it.. thats why people can only make "bird hotel" like in the video above to attract swallow to come and go

  • Izumi
    Izumi 6 days ago +1

    From ancient time to today, food like this, I mean, like shark fin and bird nest, are mostly consumed by rich and wealthy in China, not for normal people.

  • hampala tacklebox
    hampala tacklebox 7 days ago

    That’s how my neighbors got new cyron...

  • aatsista
    aatsista 7 days ago

    One thing I LOATHE about Chinese culture is that they believe rare animal body parts & other derivatives have medicinal properties. This is some cult shit that has been going on for thousands of years, have made many species extinct in their own country & pushing other species to near extinction. Rhino horn, bear bile & shark fins are just some examples.

  • Matthew Kee
    Matthew Kee 7 days ago

    I hate the taste of it.

  • Brad Miller
    Brad Miller 8 days ago

    It looks like ****** also people in China and Japan seem to have no respect for conservation

  • Quincy Quincy
    Quincy Quincy 8 days ago

    Humans... We are so weird!

  • Sabah Squared
    Sabah Squared 9 days ago

    Those swivel hotels give a new meaning to 'Air' BnB's

  • jes pla
    jes pla 9 days ago

    This is so annoying doing this stuff for food

  • Andy
    Andy 9 days ago

    This video seems different...

  • Felix Xu
    Felix Xu 10 days ago

    omg, i think i ate it before but i dont know...

  • astari djatmiko
    astari djatmiko 10 days ago +2

    i wonder who the first person was to know that this bird's nest is edible

  • Sam Torres
    Sam Torres 10 days ago

    I watched this entire video and didn't listen to or see any of it, thanks weed.

  • hieuthao Nhan
    hieuthao Nhan 11 days ago

    I ate it yum

  • 코알 라
    코알 라 11 days ago +1

    It actually tastes so good 😁 It used to be my favorite soup as a kid. Back then it was around $5-$10 for one huge bowl. I think it wasn't so expensive from where I am coz back then it was just a commonly local food 🤷🏻‍♀️ Nowadays, coz of the hype on 'exotic' food from tourists visiting our island, I believe it became more expensive and since I'm a cheap-assed adult now, I stick to the sad instant version of it which costs like a dollar and a half or something

    • 코알 라
      코알 라 8 days ago

      Sofia Mendoza did you miss the part where I eat the instant version instead? 😒

    • Sofia Mendoza
      Sofia Mendoza 8 days ago +1

      코알 라 - stop endangering species and abusing animals!!!

  • darknut
    darknut 11 days ago +4

    I would rather drink Kevin Costner's recycled piss water from water world than eat that.

  • Silvia Morar
    Silvia Morar 11 days ago


  • HeavenlyFlower
    HeavenlyFlower 12 days ago

    Sounds like a serious infection waiting to happen 😂

  • J D V
    J D V 12 days ago


  • jason lul
    jason lul 14 days ago

    Cures cancer....lol

  • Mohd Qutaibah
    Mohd Qutaibah 15 days ago

    Congratulations Malaysia. 4:03 Malaysia Boleh. 😂😂😂

  • Jia Ning Ji
    Jia Ning Ji 15 days ago

    Human *stupidity* makes *"Bird's Nest Soup So Expensive"*

  • Michael Reyes
    Michael Reyes 16 days ago


  • Anita Sanford
    Anita Sanford 16 days ago

    Yum birdshit and spit, they will eat anything and while their at it let's destroy a few species.

  • Zulfiqar Ali
    Zulfiqar Ali 17 days ago

    Q: How does the soup tree taste?
    A: tastes great like thick saliva and mucus.
    Me: no thank you.

    • nazrin maskam
      nazrin maskam 12 days ago

      Its taste like nothing the texture like jelly. I ate once before, nothing special

  • steel crow
    steel crow 18 days ago +5

    Mabye i should start collecting my parrots droll and sell it..😕😕

  • Katherine Phaye
    Katherine Phaye 18 days ago

    1:01 - bedbug

  • NYR36
    NYR36 18 days ago

    the chinese will literally eat anything

  • Black Rabbit
    Black Rabbit 19 days ago

    Low key disappointed but then again...🤦🏽♀‍🤦🏽🤦🏽

  • TFG_ 85
    TFG_ 85 19 days ago

    but the bread is cheaper

  • Rose Gacha Gamer
    Rose Gacha Gamer 19 days ago +1

    So this howly time in my child hood I have been eating bird neas

  • TreyNitrotoluene
    TreyNitrotoluene 20 days ago

    I love how instead of trying to ban the soup people just decided to be nice to the birds and brought them back from extinction.

  • YOLO
    YOLO 21 day ago


  • animefreak5219
    animefreak5219 21 day ago

    can confirm chinese people using this as medicine. source: being chinese

  • Drew M
    Drew M 22 days ago

    Is it bad that I laughed when it said they've been eating it for more than 1000 years because they believe it makes their kids grow taller when the average male height in china is 5'6" nowadays. I don't think it makes you taller...

  • Mihai Ioan Tabacaru
    Mihai Ioan Tabacaru 22 days ago

    We have all this wonderful food now, so many veggies and fruits and seeds... AH, SHIT, dat a bird nest? MM-M! Imma get me some o' dat!

  • Trofim Pictures
    Trofim Pictures 22 days ago

    Disgusting 🤢🤮

  • : D
    : D 22 days ago

    americans and europeans: we dont eat it so it must be absolutely disgusting and taste worst than dogshit

  • Don Bennett
    Don Bennett 22 days ago

    It's amazing in the 21st century, so many Asians still belive in this backwater nonsense. Bird nest soup, caterpillar fungus, rhino horn, etc. Moronic.

    • : D
      : D 22 days ago

      Don Bennett in this age, its more of tradition than anything else

  • Bust Down Thotiana
    Bust Down Thotiana 23 days ago +126

    TheXvid: why bird's-nest soup is so expensive
    Me: *why birds nest soup exists*

  • Malik Rahman
    Malik Rahman 24 days ago

    The Chinese are a sick bunch

  • Cath Ti
    Cath Ti 25 days ago

    Im freaking went to hospital because of it 😣 but anyway it delicious 😂

  • Virg Brito
    Virg Brito 26 days ago

    this girl cici is annoying ewww

  • Death Metal
    Death Metal 26 days ago

    We humans are real Assholes and Genuine Monsters

  • Ric Rovey
    Ric Rovey 26 days ago

    I ain't eating no bird spit

  • L.E.G
    L.E.G 28 days ago

    We all know too little of each other before judging. Thats what separates humanity from each other

  • DMS
    DMS 28 days ago

    Can't hear shit captain

  • Erwin Buntod
    Erwin Buntod 29 days ago

    Its started in just a local foods, now the chinese started it as a business, now its spread

  • Earl Spencer
    Earl Spencer 29 days ago

    Lol Chinese will buy anything that their magical shamans declare as having "healing properties".

  • Steve Lim
    Steve Lim 29 days ago

    Sarangburungwalet123.com Indonesian bird nest

  • Aloosh Alnassir
    Aloosh Alnassir 29 days ago +1

    What dont they eat?

    MITCHELL WIGGS 29 days ago +3

    "A jello texture that doesn't taste like anything" - so you could just use like...gelatin?

    • nazrin maskam
      nazrin maskam 12 days ago +1

      MITCHELL WIGGS health property purposed are different. I ate once it taste nothing. Yea gelatin is better.

      MITCHELL WIGGS 21 day ago +1

      The difference is that gelatin is readily available and very inexpensive. I’d think that the difference would be obvious.

    • Strawberry Cupcake
      Strawberry Cupcake 21 day ago

      Well gelatin is made from the bones and cartilage of some animals so what's the difference lol?

  • #Celine Dion World
    #Celine Dion World Month ago

    That was their saliva

  • Jia Qi
    Jia Qi Month ago +1

    Benefits of consuming bird nests
    *Prevents type 2 diabetes*
    *gud complexion*
    *youthful skin*
    *improves immune system and health*
    *idk anymore*

  • Imapenguin Cheese
    Imapenguin Cheese Month ago

    If the PETA knew about this probably they would make a video for this saying "Blah Blah we are killing birds

  • pinkfreud62
    pinkfreud62 Month ago +1

    wtf 1st decided plucking a slimy bird's nest off a cliff would taste good??

  • Some guy
    Some guy Month ago

    This is yet another example of how China is ruining the planet cuz of their nonexistent nature conservation laws

  • Blu Pyxi
    Blu Pyxi Month ago

    Keep it

  • Soup Boy
    Soup Boy Month ago

    *PETA has left the chat.*

  • NoobKing
    NoobKing Month ago

    Sa palabok yan hahaha like nyo to kung pilipino kayo

  • Dionne Dynasty
    Dionne Dynasty Month ago

    🦜Bird spit soup 🍵 🤢

  • teddy two guns
    teddy two guns Month ago

    I could swing that that's not too bad

  • Md H86
    Md H86 Month ago


    • Ben Tube
      Ben Tube Month ago

      Md H86 Yes they do but they have been eating this for thousands of years

  • Brett Hubble
    Brett Hubble Month ago

    asians overharvesting
    whats new

  • The Hooeys
    The Hooeys Month ago

    The length humans go to for gluttony is astounding! Who climbs a mountain for a poopy nest ruining the habitat and the species?! STUPID.

  • A. V
    A. V Month ago

    I don't like soup's.!
    Waste of time.!!

    Only 🍽 🥩🍺
    🤤🤤🤤 🥓

  • whattamalawn
    whattamalawn Month ago

    *Mmm. **_BIRD POOP_*

  • Lyna Mong
    Lyna Mong Month ago

    I eat the bird nest everyday 😊

  • jackson7177
    jackson7177 Month ago

    This is nothing compared to a Sperm Whale throw up

  • ppp ppplll
    ppp ppplll Month ago

    Tgey dont really taste like anything. Theres a lot of other stuff to eat just stop over harvesting

  • Russel Raagas
    Russel Raagas Month ago

    Want to know expensive, look up “Albino Caviar”.

  • Nonsense Ziqrul
    Nonsense Ziqrul Month ago

    Poor birds

  • John Cheng
    John Cheng Month ago +1

    James Corden should watch this video.

  • Lancelot Patel kumar


  • Tofu Tasty
    Tofu Tasty Month ago

    The Asian girl is hotttttt

  • Tofu Tasty
    Tofu Tasty Month ago +1

    I eat my saliva every day

  • Ken M
    Ken M Month ago

    No one mentioning the fact that we built large concrete buildings for birds while we have homeless people lol. Humans are weird creatures

  • its jaimee
    its jaimee Month ago

    wait what it’s actually bird salava?! my mom always brought a big bowl of it home-

  • bon bon
    bon bon Month ago +1

    my mom bought a whole pack for 300 bucks

  • Allen Goodman
    Allen Goodman Month ago

    Bird spit,when time is dinner ?!

  • land mine
    land mine Month ago

    Ye hus imagine if you spit on the ground and bird just comes by and slurps it up

  • JA914 AJ121
    JA914 AJ121 Month ago +4

    After having that spit soup go ahead and drink a poop coffee 😂😂

    • JA914 AJ121
      JA914 AJ121 Month ago

      Yup, that's exactly what im talking about, kopi luwak, poop coffee 😂

    • NoPain NoGain
      NoPain NoGain Month ago

      That exists in Indonesia from the tree cat

  • Rachel A.
    Rachel A. Month ago

    Eh I've tried it it's actually not bad. All you uncultured swines judging it for looking disgusting (eventhough I can admit it doesn't look as appetising as it tastes). It's worth the price, definitely.

  • Pawski Puski
    Pawski Puski Month ago

    I eat it and it is delicious omg

  • J. Wolfe
    J. Wolfe Month ago

    Vomit inducing.

  • Uncle Nuts
    Uncle Nuts Month ago

    Is this another of your exotic gimmick foods that is supposed to give you more than a four inch wiener? Knock it off already.

  • clarkevander
    clarkevander Month ago

    There is a place here in the Philippines where a man's/family's house was kind of chosen by the birds to be their nest. They let the birds. He eats these for free by harvesting abandoned nests from his basement. He doesn't sell them to profit or anything like that.

    • clarkevander
      clarkevander Month ago

      @Reniel Enriquez look it up. I only saw it in the news. Or a docu. Cant remember.

  • Jah Jah
    Jah Jah Month ago

    we got those at my house

  • XenonKirito
    XenonKirito Month ago

    $30 a bowl you mean? That $100+ is only for 4 people or 4 bowls.

  • Wave
    Wave Month ago

    People will buy anything apparently

  • Caleb Mason
    Caleb Mason Month ago

    Ew paying over $100 for bird spit only white people would do this that’s gross af🤮