cuy

One of the most talked-about dishes to try in Peru, cuy (guinea pig) can be found in almost any restaurant in town. Having been eaten for thousands of years, there are no hang-ups about these cute little buggers as pets, as they never were here. They actually make perfect sense on a farm; they eat table scraps, they don’t run away, and they’re small enough to eat everything in one sitting (no need for a refrigerator). The biggest problem that non-South-Americans have with them is that they still look like animals in this picture. Usually, just the meat is used.

How is it, you ask? How do you eat it? Well, it’s definitely a finger food, as all the bones are still inside. There is a surprising amount of meat, and it tastes pretty wild. I’ve been told it’s like quail or rabbit or a mix, though I haven’t had either. I liked it a lot.

The day after we arrived in Cuzco, we found a cuy festival going on. Tent after tent preparing cuy in all sorts of ways. We had, unfortunately, just had a huge English breakfast for Easter Sunday, so we had to share a single one done the classic way – roasted – but it was neat to see all the variations on this animal – stewed, fried, in various sauces, casserole, and many more that I can’t remember or translate.

We have a recipe for this, but I don’t think we’ll be preparing it any time soon. If we ever live on a farm, however, we’ll be sure to have little cuyes running all around, waiting to become a delicious meal.

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