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Cuy con papas

Andean delicacy: roasted guinea pig served with potatoes

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Tried this in Ecuador

  • May 6, 2011
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Most people don't know this but the guinea pig was originally domesticated for food.   In countries like Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, they eat fairly large numbers of guinea pigs.  They aren't cheap ($7 for a meal, where lunches are often $2) but they are quite tasty.  However, this is not for the faint of heart because, depending on local customs the head might not be removed prior to serving.

So whenever I go somewhere I reflexively look for the customary food that most offends the food taboos where I come from and go try it.  I have thus eaten everything from fresh cobra blood mixed with Chinese wine to papaya leaves.

Typically the Cuyes (guinea pigs) are cleaned, skinned, and roasted over charcoal.  Then they are served with potatoes and a spicy sauce, as well as a side dish of some sort.    The meat tastes sort of like a fairly rich pork, and the meal is fairly filling despite the fact that there isn't a lot of meat on the animals.  At least where I tried it, the potatoes were boiled and served in a rich, creamy, spicy sauce which complemented the meat well.

My son ordered the chicken, but he did taste the guinea pigs and found them to be good to eat.   My wife very much enjoyed it until she got about half way through and realized the head was in fact still attached.   I suspect if I order it again I will specify "sin cabeza" for my wife....

On the whole though I find this to be quite an enjoyable meal.  For those who are willing to try odd foods that challenge our cultural ideas of what should be eaten, I highly recommend trying this.

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March 05, 2012
I like to eat veggies. Generally, I don't eat meat and I certainly won't eat anything with a face.
May 09, 2011
mayhap I'll do one on alligator and rattlesnake.... ;P nice review.
May 09, 2011
I have had alligator, not rattlesnake. I have had cobra though. Maybe I should review that too ;-)
May 06, 2011
I had no idea that people ate guinea pigs! They're cute, but after reading your review, I kind of want to try one... :P
May 06, 2011
Yeah, I tried this one before as well. The restaurant in Peru was kinda dark so I didn't get to see much. It does taste just like ordinary meat and not too distinctive. As for the head, well it doesn't bother most Chinese for some reasons. I do know some Americans who don't take entire fish either, just the fillet. The American friend who was with me didn't touch a bit of it though. It freaks her out, I do believe :)
May 06, 2011
I'm the same way as you and like to try local food whenever I travel, I feel that it enriches my experience. I was in Peru a couple of years ago and had the guinea pig, sin cabeza thought because, yeah...I'm only so adventurous. Thanks for sharing! I also added some tags so that your review gets the attention it deserves ;p
About the reviewer
Chris Travers ()
Ranked #117
   I live in a haunted house Beneath a tall and mighty tree   With my wife Mia and my sons Wilhelm and Conrad   Where I write software and carve runes   It is a … more
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Travel, Food, Dining, International Cuisine, Guinea Pig, international food


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"Tried this in Ecuador"
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