Eat. Eat some more.

Eat.  Share.
Eat some more.

Your Fluffy Pet Tastes Like Chicken - Eating Guinea Pig in Peru

(What's this?) Click on this "star" to bookmark your favourite food stories. To view the stories you have bookmarked, simply go to your account dashboard, and click on the "My Bookmarked Stories" link.
April 22, 2014 / Peruvian / By
Kelly Dunning

One of the best things about travel is the opportunity to try new foods and experience new things. In my travels around the world I have tried a vast number of different cuisines, including curry in Sri Lanka, Pho in Vietnam, Jambalaya in New Orleans and a “Jig’s Dinner” in Newfoundland, Canada. However, one of the strangest things that I have ever eaten on my adventures is a guinea pig in Peru.

Now, where I come from (Canada) a guinea pig is considered a pet. Many people keep these cute and fluffy creatures in a cage with a little food bowl, water spout and exercise wheel and they love to cuddle and stroke them. They have a docile nature and they are easy to care for, which makes them very popular pets – especially for children.

Food, not Friends

However, in the Peruvian Andes Guinea Pigs were originally domesticated for their meat. These little creatures were used for important ceremonial meals by the indigenous people, but these days they are served in ordinary restaurants. Guinea pigs require less room than traditional livestock and they reproduce quickly, so they make a very profitable source of food compared to cows or pigs. The dish is known as “Cuy” and Guinea Pig is very low in fat and high in protein, similar to rabbit or dark chicken meat.

The Peruvians eat an estimated 65 million Guinea Pigs per year. In fact, this furry creature is such an important part of the culinary culture that there is a painting in the main cathedral in Cusco that depicts Christ and his twelve disciples having a “Last Supper” of Guinea Pig.  The Peruvians think it is strange and hilarious that we keep Guinea Pigs as pets.

So What Was Guinea Pig Like?

I tasted Guinea Pig for the first time in the small village of Aguas Calientes, Peru, which is located at the base of the mountain where the ruins of Machu Picchu are perched. I have never had a Guinea Pig as a pet so perhaps that made it easier for me to eat one. Mine was fried and served with potato chips, although you can also order it broiled, roasted or in a casserole.

The most uneasy thing about the dish is the appearance – the head and the tiny paws are still attached and it is easy to see the rodent-like nature of what you are eating. However, if you can get past this psychological hurdle, the meat is tender, flavourful and very satisfying. It would be cliché to say that it “tastes like chicken”, but it certainly has that same richness and salty, fried crispiness. It is a challenge to pick the meat apart from the tiny bones, but after a while I forgot I was eating what some consider a beloved pet and I was thoroughly enjoying myself, licking the sticky, meaty flavour from my fingers. It was washed down well with a cold and frothy Peruvian beer.

When you are travelling in Peru, I recommend giving Guinea Pig a try – unless of course it reminds you too much of a childhood pet! 

(Click here to read more about our Machu Picchu trip)


N/A

Country: Peru

Province/State: Cusco

City: Aguas Calientes

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: N/A

Website:N/A

Price Guide:$$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

Comment
Related Stories

A Foodie Guide To Brussels' Best Restaur...

Belgian / By
ETG - Food For Thought

21 Carrot Recipes For Autumn

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

51 Halloween Cookie Recipes - The Ultima...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Types Of Cheese From Greece

Greek / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Portugal's Top 13 Most Delicious Dishes

Portuguese / By
ETG - Food For Thought

AS SEEN ON

ABC Nine Com 6PR
Copyright © 2012-2017 Eat the Globe™ - All rights reserved

Related Stories

A Foodie Guide To Brussels' Best Restaur...

Belgian / By
ETG - Food For Thought

21 Carrot Recipes For Autumn

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

51 Halloween Cookie Recipes - The Ultima...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Types Of Cheese From Greece

Greek / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Portugal's Top 13 Most Delicious Dishes

Portuguese / By
ETG - Food For Thought

AS SEEN ON

Copyright © 2012-2017 Eat the Globe™ - All rights reserved
Login to Eat The Globe
Username
Password
   Cancel
Close
Your profile is incomplete.
Simply complete your profile, it only takes 1 minute.
Button
Email this story to a friend
Close
Invalid Email format
Send Friend Request to this person
Close
Invalid Email format
Your Friend Request has been sent.