Roasted Guinea Pigs, Anyone?

Travelling opens up your eyes to a world of things that you may never come across in your own country. It’s getting to experience, see and taste things that may be completely out of your normal realm. When I was in Ecuador, I learned that they serve a specialty made with guinea pig. Yes, guinea pig.

Guinea pigs, also known as cuy, are actually kept as pets and cherished in Ecuador. We visited an Indigenous family on a mountain in the capital and were informed that once they start making the “cou cou cou” sounds, it means something is wrong. This is especially true, according to their beliefs, when a guinea pig is placed on top of a person. If it starts making noises, it means the person’s health is in danger. This is why I found it very curious that they eat the little furry creatures too.

We went to a restaurant in La Rotunda, a highly touristy area near our hotel in Quito. We received a complimentary appetizer with our meal consisting of popcorn, lime, nuts and plantain.

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A snack/appetizer to go with our meal 

The guinea pig that we ordered (we only bought half just to try a bit) was grilled and served on a yellow sauce with potatoes and a simple side salad of lettuce, tomatoes and avocado.

Being such a small animal, it was not very meaty and very boney. The meat was a bit chewy and tough and it resembled the texture of a duck. I can’t say it was horrible because it tasted very similar to a duck, but I’m sure the charred face of the poor little critter would be enough to scare away many. However, I’d say give it a whirl. It’s not as bad as you may think. I’d say do it for the cultural experience. 🙂

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