Entering a Borneo emporium in 1922, American missionary Elizabeth Mershon noted that "many strange and evil-smelling articles greet the eye and the nose."

While pungent "strings of dried rats," "ancient duck eggs," "dried lizards," not to mention desiccated "beche de mer (sea slugs)" all caught her attention, what really perturbed and fascinated the pious lady were the birds' nests.

So much so, in fact, that she devoted an entire chapter of her book "With The Wild Men Of Borneo" to them. Mershon was not the first person to find the culinary concept a trifle disconcerting. Nor, it can safely be conjectured, will she be the last.