Thursday, 22 October 2015

Foodie Corner: Unusual Eats - Guinea Pig

Vern.  Cusco, Peru

You know guinea pigs:  those cuddly little balls of fur that make such cute pets in North America. 

Well, it turns out that guinea pigs have been gracing the tables of Peru for centuries.  Easy and cheap to raise as livestock, ‘cuy’ (pronounced ‘kwee’) is a popular regional dish served either roasted or grilled or even deep fried at many restaurants in Peru.   Staying true to my philosophy of “if it moves, it can be eaten”, I needed to try it. 

In spite of the plethora of restaurants serving guinea pig in Cusco, only a few came recommended.  We opted for Kusikuy, an establishment specializing in the traditional cooking of the dish.  

Cuy takes about an hour to prepare; calling ahead greatly reduces the in-restaurant wait time.  I sat in great anticipation, willing my dinner to appear, and I was not disappointed.  The cuy is brought out fresh from the oven, head to tail, though it was explained that this is strictly for a Kodak moment.   Serving staff then whisk the dish back to the kitchen where it is cut up for eating.

The cuy meat itself has a delicate, slightly gamey flavour.  I found that the dish didn’t loan itself very easily to consumption with fork and knife and the proprietor actually come over to our table, all smiles, in praise of my ‘traditional’ pick-it-up-and-eat it approach.

I enjoyed the novel culinary experience.  I would recommend Kusikuy for the dish itself; however, the restaurant was lacking ambiance.  Though nicely decorated, the temperature within the restaurant was cold enough to warrant a scarf and sweater, and there was only one other table of diners.   Our drinks – maracuya (passion fruit) sours, normally excellent concoctions - tasted primarily of alcohol with little other flavour.  I hope to get the chance to try cuy at other locales throughout Peru and will compare the experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment