Internet is Right About ‘Fake Bird’s Nest,’ Scientist Says

Photos of butter-cup tree sap sold as edible bird’s nest. Image: www.showkhao.com

BANGKOK — For once, an online rumor has turned out to be true. Yes, some vendors really do sell cheap tree sap disguised as edible bird’s nest, a luxury delicacy in Thailand.

Responding to posts on social media warning about such a scam, well-known scientist Jessada Denduangboripant wrote online that the sap, which is extracted from butter-cup trees, has a striking similarity to actual bird’s nest but costs less to produce.

“It’s rare that a truth gets [widely] shared like this,” wrote Jessada, a Chulalongkorn University lecturer famous for debunking hoaxes on social media.

Suckers who have bought fake bird’s nest have some relief: The gum is safe as a food additive and does not pose a health risk, Jessada said.

Considered a high-status treat by many Sino-Thais, edible bird’s nest, made by the saliva of a swift, is a popular gift during the New Year season.

Jessada advised consumers to refrain from buying edible bird’s nest from dodgy street vendors and stick to established brands.