Can you imagine living in a house that you've fashioned all by yourself, only to have it taken from you to be made into a nutritious drink? That's the life of a swiftlet—these are birds contained within that are found within the five genera: the Aerodramus, Hydrochous, Schoutedenapus, Collocalia and Taylor, fans of.
Put together by gumption and saliva, these nests are prized in Chinese cuisine because of the nest's high protein content and rich flavours. I remember my first time eating bird's nest soup at a wedding and was taken by the texture and the sweetness (thanks to the heavy lifting of added rock sugar).
Maybe it's that adjacent association with the phasing out of shark's fin soup. Maybe the pandemic put the kibosh on weddings that bird's nest soup is usually found at. But weirdly enough, bird's nest soup fell from my mind.
Now there's a resurgence of bird's nest soup in the public consciousness. One of the many supporters is LENE, which has since gone for a rebrand. Like the others, LENE touts the health benefits of bird's nest soup, how as a tonic, it reduces fatigue; promotes skin health and repair; ups your immunity; speeds up recovery. But what sets LENE from the other competitors is that the company cooks and prepares the bird's nest once orders have been confirmed just so as to ensure optimal freshness. With its own bird's nest farm in Malaysia, the product is bottled in Singapore and is sugar-free (the sweetness comes from the luo han guo (monk fruit).
LENE has a box of six bottled bird's nest at SGD158 and there's also a subscription service (at SGD488) for a weekly delivery over four weeks.