Weirdest Foods: The Guinea Pig, a Peruvian Delicacy

Food is something that I find I often take for granted. The weekly food shop becomes a chore rather than something I look forward to. One of the few times that this changes is when you are travelling. When I visit another country, I find myself really looking forward to trying some of the local delicacies and I take the approach that there is nothing that I will not try. So, when I visited South America in 2020, I really was in for a treat with some of the weirdest and most unique foods that I have ever tasted and none more so than guinea pig.

The one food that I had already heard about before making my trip to South America was Guinea Pig, or as they call it in Peru, Cuy. Now of course in the UK guinea pigs are far better known as pets than as food. This is something I know well as my sister has had 4 different guinea pigs throughout the years. However, I knew that this was one of the most famous dishes in Peru and something that I truly had to try.

I was in Trujillo, the largest city in northern Peru, when I finally got round to trying it. You can buy it spit roasted on the street, but I had decided to go to a reputable restaurant. I really was not sure how it would be served when I ordered it and I was shocked when about 20 minutes later half a fried guinea pig appeared on my plate with a small salad as a garnish. I don’t know how many other people have sat there looking at their food when you can very much still see exactly what animal it was, but that was the situation I was faced with. I knew that I had to at least give it a go. I was in Peru after all.

There is not much meat on a guinea pig. I mean looking at one that should be fairly obvious, but it still took me by surprise as I ate it. I also quickly discovered that there is no delicate way to eat one. It was a bit like eating a chicken leg if you wanted to get all of the meat off the bone. Now I am sure that you will be expecting me to tell you that it tasted like chicken, as it seems that is the reply that everyone gives when eating a new meat. Luckily though, that was not the case. The texture was like a chicken leg, but the taste resembled pork far more than anything else. It was, and still is, one of the weirdest foods that I have ever eaten, but then again, I am glad that I gave it a go.

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