Guinea pig (Cuy) is a delicacy that is very typically associated with typical Peruvian cuisine but it is also eaten throughout other countries of South America such as Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia.
The Peruvian guinea pig dish, cuy, is mostly served on special occasions rather than as a meal eaten regularly but is readily available for adventurous tourists to try in restaurants or at different food stalls.
Cuy is definitely one of the weirder foods to try on your travels!
There are different methods of cooking guinea pig Cuy meat, the main ones are Cuy al horno (sometimes also called Cuy al palo or Picante de cuy), and Cuy Chactado.
Cuy al horno is baked or spit-roasted whilst Cuy chactado is fried in spices.
The following guinea pig (Cuy) recipes are based on the traditional authentic Peruvian national dish, Cuy, named so because of the noise a guinea pig makes (pronounced ‘kwee’).
How To Eat Cuy
Your best bet for eating cuy is to really get your hands dirty!
It can be a little messy and when you are in a restaurant you may feel it is a little unusual, but trust us, no-one will bat an eyelid. In fact, it’s very much to be expected.
Eating cuy is a little like eating chicken wings, in that you essentially use your teeth to get the most meat off the bone.
But Isn’t It Weird To Eat Guinea Pig?
To some of us it may seem weird to eat guinea pig, since many cultures around the world consider guinea pigs to be pets. However, in Peru guinea pigs are seen as more of a rodent and the Incas have traditionally eaten cuy for centuries.
What’s more, guinea pigs are really easy to farm for meat due to the rate at which they reproduce, making them a very cheap and effective source of protein.
In fact, according to the BBC, the rest of the world is now coming to accept the value of eating guinea pigs over keeping them as pets, with America deemed to be a big potential market.
What Does Cuy Taste Like?
Most people agree that cuy is actually delicious and tastes a little like chicken. This is probably why it’s such a popular dish throughout South America.
According to Eatperu.com Cuy has a deeper, fattier flavor than chicken, with a gamier taste.
Interested in trying cuy yourself? We have two real authentic recipes for cuy: Cuy Al Horno and Cuy Chactado. Have a go and let us know what you think!
- 4 Guinea Pigs (Cuy)
- 1 bulb of Garlic
- 2 Green or Yellow Peppers
- 100g Ground, Roasted Peanuts
- Chili Panca
- 8 Potatoes
- 4 Hard Boiled Eggs
- Crush or finely chop the garlic and combine with salt, cumin and pepper to create a seasoning.
- Marinate the guinea pig in the seasoning and leave to rest for 2-4 hours.
- Prepare a hot grill, put a bamboo skewer stick through the body of each guinea pig and place on to the grill, turning occasionally.
- Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a pot of boiling water.
- Finely chop the peppers, mix with chili panca, minced garlic and the ground peanuts.
- Spoon the mixture into a frying pan with a little oil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are boiled, cut into slices and place on the plate with the cooked guinea pig, then drizzle over the sauce.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 918Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 287mgSodium: 889mgCarbohydrates: 93gFiber: 11gSugar: 7gProtein: 54g
Cuy Chactado Recipe
- Guinea pig
- Salt and pepper
- De-hair the guinea pig, gut and clean it, then pat it dry
- Mix the cumin, salt and black pepper, then rub it in to the guinea pig
- Cover the guinea pig in flour and place it in a pan of hot oil
- Turn occasionally to cook evenly
- Prepare a salad of tomatoes, onions and potatoes
- Serve and enjoy!
Eating guinea pig (cuy) in Cuzco, Peru
Of course, it’s better to try Cuy from authentic sellers in cities such as Cuzco or Lima. We were very lucky to experience Peruvian food on one of the street food tours in Lima which was an incredible experience.
If you are interested, we went on this street food tour in Lima which I would highly recommend because it was combined with historical sightseeing and had a real local feel to it.
If you’re like us then you love discovering incredible recipes from all over South America and tasting the delicacies of the continent.