If you happen to travel to Andean Peru, you just can’t skip being offered Cuy. Cuy is a traditional dish of the region which is also known as Conejillo de indias i.e. guinea pig in English. Cuy is typically a rodent that began to be called as guinea pig after Spanish came into the region. Tasting a cuy can be daunting in the beginning especially for a weak hearted person owing to its looks. It is the taste that drives you to eat more.
Guinea pig has a long association with Andean Peru that goes back to 5000 years. In pre-Columbian tradition, guinea pig was consumed by rich and wealthy people. It has also been used for predicting future and as a sacrifice. Today, it is the staple food of Andean cuisine and serves as a vital source of protein for isolated Andean communities. It is commonly eaten in Cusco and Puno region that serve a number of tourists visiting Incan ruins.
Guinea pigs are commercially reared nowadays and form an essential part of Andean nutrition. The dish regained popularity in the 1960s and since then serves as an important source of income for indigenous people of Andes. Cuy is best served with potatoes, rice and spicy pepper sauce.
Widely available in the market, roasted cuy is one of Peru’s most famous dishes. Since cuy is somewhat tough, it is recommended to be eaten with hands, spitting out bones as you eat. At eateries, it is often accompanied by salad, corn, boiled yellow potatoes and creole sauce. Cuy offers a delightful crispy texture of skin and soft flesh in one bite.
Cuy is called so because of sound “kwee”, a characteristic sound made by guinea pig. The preparation of cuy begins with skinning it in hot water. Following that internal organs are removed and cleansed in salted water. Cuy is left to drain and dry. It is usually cooked as a whole with head still attached. Cuy is usually baked or barbecued and has a pleasant taste like that of rabbit or wild fowl.
Learn more about exotic Peruvian dishes by contacting Karikuy today.
Image 1: By Brianwray26 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Image 2: Tomas Sobek
Image 3: Dtarazona