Sippin on Saliva: Bird’s Nest Soup

By Mark Wiens 3 Comments

Name: Bird’s Nest Soup (Rang Nok)

Location: Yaowarat Chinatown in Bangkok, Thailand

Cost: 200 THB (6.21 USD) for the cheapest bowl

bird's nest soup bangkok thailand

bird's nest soup bangkok thailand

bird's nest soup bangkok

It’s not everyday that you get to recline on yellow sofas surrounded by jars of illuminated spit, get spoiled by your waitress, and sip on the finest Swift saliva.  Well, actually, we got the cheapest bowl possible, but it was still a great foodie experience.  Swift nest’s are formed by the birds regurgitating their spit and letting it harden.

Depending on the quality, bird’s nest can fetch anywhere from about $5 to $1000 per bowl.   After eating over 100 Thai foods, bird’s nest soup was actually dreadfully plain.

However, if the purposed health benefits like curing lungs, boosting blood circulation, rejuvenating the skin, warding off tuberculosis, helping people recover from giving birth, and not to mention it’s aphrodisiac effects, the lack of flavor is hardly to complain about, right???

The waitress cracked a raw egg into our soup, splashed in a hint of honey, and told us to eat it with the small water chestnuts provided.  Yes, this is by far the most I’ve paid per bite of food in Bangkok, and, No, I probably won’t buy it again, but it was a high society experience that left me feeling like a culinary pro.

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

  • Lynn

    14 years ago

    Hi,bird nest is indeed a popular chinese delicacy throughout generations. Malaysia, particularly the state of Sarawak is abundant with bird nest. Pure Sarawak cave bird nest is available at It does not need to be cleaned as all feathers have been removed. Just soak it and it is ready to be cooked 🙂

  • Chaeles Bagli

    14 years ago

    WOW… YUMMY~~~~

    mann i love bird’s nest soup too even IF its made from spit!!! <333

    i eat it like once every monthish and used to bought from website sometimes, my mom went back to hong kong and bought a full suitcase of it cause its cheaper there XD

  • A Jung

    14 years ago

    Hey Mark,
    Years ago I ate many bowls of bird nest soup when it was less expensive. That was the soup served at Chinese banquets alternating with shark fin soup. The reason why bird nest is so expensive is that it is difficult to get them since men must climb high cliffs and often times fall to their death. I think you would love the taste and texture of both soup in the Chinese style. Of course, there is much to say about the killing of sharks for their fins… Thanks for your excellent writings and photos!