Bird’s Nest which was primarily known as Swallow Nest in the early days was first found during the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907) back in China nearly 1500 years ago. According to many historical data, in the classical Chinese Medicine Book (本草綱目) about health food, swallow nest was imported into China from the Southeast Asian region more than 500 years ago, Admiral Cheng Ho (鄭和) brought the precious bird’s nest from Southeast Asia to the Chinese emperor. Since then bird's nest has been traditionally used by Chinese royalties and ancient beauties and to maintain their beauty and body wellness.
From the classic literary masterpiece heroine Lin Dai Yu (林黛玉) to the enchanting Empress Dowager Tsu His (慈禧) and even the famous travelling Emperor Qian Long (乾隆) of the Ching Dynasty have all been known to consume bird's nest everyday for its health and beauty benefits. In fact, the Empress Dowager Tsu His dined on not just one, but seven types of bird’s nest dishes for breakfast to preserve her health and youth. Even Empress Wu Ze Tian (武則天) , the only female Empress in China, is believed to have drunk bird’s nest for its beauty and health benefits.
The medicinal benefits of bird's nest have been carefully documented since it became a superior delicacy and was widely recognised as one of the four great tonic foods in the late Ming (1405-1433 AD) and early Ching (1644-1911 AD) Dynasties. In the medical classic Pen Tsao Feng Yuan (本草逢原), bird’s nest was listed as the most tractable and versatile of foods as “it nourishes the lungs and stops colds as it clears up the chest”. Because of its scarcity, bird’s nest was also seen as a demonstration of wealth and power and widely regarded as items of high value and prestige.
During the golden period in Tang Dynasty’s era, only the family of the Emperor and his court officials has the privilege to consume this supreme delicacy. It was after the era of Emperors ended, that the common people were introduced to swallow nest, where it was now widely termed as bird’s nest. Since then, due to its rarity and rich in nutritional and historical values, demand and price for bird’s nest remains sky high.