Chinese Swallow's Nest Soup With Rock Sugar

Swallow's Nest Soup With Rock Sugar
Takahiro Yamagiwa/Flickr/CC
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 2 servings

Also known as bird's nest soup, this recipe for Chinese swallow's nest soup with rock sugar is a sweet dessert soup made from the nests of the swiftlet, a type of swallow.

Legend has it that consuming bird's nest soup can restore one's health and beauty and reverse the effects of aging. As you might imagine, the jury is still out on this.

The real problem is finding actual swiftlet bird's nests, as they are becoming a scarce commodity, but there are online Asian purveyors selling the real thing. 


  • 2 ounces birds nests
  • 4 cups water
  • 7 to 8 tablespoons crushed rock sugar (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. To prepare the bird's nests, soak in cold water for several hours or overnight. Rinse well. Go over the nests and pick out any loose feathers.

  2. Boil the bird's nests twice by bringing a pot of water to a boil and simmering the bird's nests for about 5 minutes. Drain and again add to a pot of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse well and squeeze dry.

  3. Place the bird's nests in the pot and add 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the bird's nests are quite soft (up to 2 hours). Add the rock sugar, stirring to dissolve.

  4. Serve the soup hot.


  • You'll want to save this for a special occasion. Authentic bird's nests are quite expensive, not surprising given that the nests come from the hardened saliva of the swiftlet swallow. It could be a good choice for a romantic evening, as a bird's nest is rumored to be ​an aphrodisiac