11 April 2012
You have to at least try it! One of the boxes to tick when in Peru is to eat guinea pig or ‘cuy’ as it is known, and most of us wanted to at least have a taste (rather than being brave enough to order an entire one to ourselves).
So, in Arequipa, the first town of the Peruvian highlands, Eduardo, our guide said it was our chance. Here the guinea pig is traditionally deep fried (rather than BBQ’d which I may have to see on a different occasion).
We ordered one cuy to share between the group of eight and for the first ten minutes we were like the paparazzi – it was the most photographed guinea pig in the world!
Despite having been told that it would come out whole, it is still a bit of a shock and you face a slight moral dilemma of eating what we traditionally know as one of our first pets. However, as explained, guinea pigs are not known as pets in Peru and are farmed to eat. One of out local guides even claimed their cancer curing properties!
However as it is one of those must do things, I put aside my queasiness and took my 1/8th piece.
So what was it like? It was bony! and therefore fiddly to eat. The skin, having been deep fried tasted a bit like pork crackling; and the actual meat tasted much more flavoursome than chicken (which I had most often heard it compared to).
I was happy with my small piece, however one of the guys in the group proceeded to eat all of the skin from the head and another apparently got the internal organs – kidney or something, which I wasn’t all that fussed I missed out on.
Would I try it again – perhaps…. apparently it is different/ better barbequed, which is more traditional in Cusco – we will see! Though I think I might stick to other Andean food.