Posted by: Ali | November 2, 2009


I finally tried cuy!

What is cuy, you might ask?  Well, cuy is the name in Peru for guinea pig.  In other countries it has another name, but I think “cuy” is from the Incan times.  They use the word cuy because of the sound that the guinea pigs make.

Anyways, hereabouts it’s a delicacy, especially up in the highlands.  It used to be a sacred dish and would be part of religious ceremonies.  Sometimes cuy would even be sacrificed to the gods when an important person died!

Piquante de Cuy

Piquante de Cuy

On the weekend I tried “piquante de cuy,” which literally means “spicy cuy.”  The presentation was not great, it was like at a barbecue or something.

Eric, holding it by its little arms

Eric, holding it by its little arms

The one thing we all quickly realized about cuy is that there is no meat on it!  It was so hard to get even a little bit to eat, you had to pretty much chew and try to get some flavour out.  It might have been good in stew…


Caral 071

Look at this tiny little piece of meat!

It really is a hunt to find the little cuy’s juicy little meatstuffs.

So, now that I can check that off my to-do list, I have decided that I need pet guinea pigs.  I could get a little cage or keep them in the backyard with a big sign that says “Guinea Pig Sanctuary.”  I think I’d like to name them Freedom and Liberty, but one of the volunteers suggested instead Salt and Pepper.

What do you think?




  1. I’m curious as to how your cuy was cooked. I had it in Ecuador. Here was the technique (hardly a “recipe”) they used:

    1) Take live cuy and kill it. I only ever saw this done with fresh cuy. They were available live in the market, and the vendor would kill them for you.
    2) Take recently killed cuy, and plunge into a deep fat fryer (actually, a pot of boiling oil) for about 2 minutes. This step burns off the fur and seals the skin.
    3) Remove from fryer and drain excess oil.
    4) Place into large pot of stock and simmer for 2-3 hours. This is a typical method for cooking meat with a lot of connective tissue, as the poaching process breaks that down.
    5) Take from stock and drain. This can now be refrigerated and kept for up to 2 days, either whole or cut up.
    6) Just before serving, crisp up by throwing it back into a deep fryer (preferably NOT the one used in step 2) for 2-5 minutes.

    My experience was like yours. Not much meat, and a lot of chewing. An interesting delicacy I wouldn’t be in a hurry to repeat.

    Now, ceviche and Pisco Sours I do make all the time…

  2. Name them Meechu and Yuchu!

  3. I’m not showing this to Lucas! Poor little cuy, holding it by its legs!?!

  4. G.P. never looked better, Hammy would be proud


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