As a disclaimer, I am not one who particularly enjoys trying new and exotic foods. However, I always do my best to try new things at least once – most of which I never try again. Guinea pig, or Cuy, falls into this category of things that I have tried once that I have no desire of ever trying again. Throughout our time in Peru, we have seen signs for several restaurants advertising cuy, and I was curious. Despite my curiosity, I kept putting it off because I would rather have food that I know I like.
While we were in Maras, we were invited into the kitchen where our guide showed us how to make Chicha, there were tons of cute little guinea pigs running around. At least I thought they were cute. We asked if she was going to eat them, and she said yes. But the guinea pigs are usually only eaten on special occasions, such as birthdays. Thus, they are somewhat of a delicacy you could say. She proceeded to tell us that the first time you break a cuy’s neck, it is a little difficult, but after a few you get the hang of it. Then, to roast it, you just stick a skewer straight through the cuy and roast it over a fire. The thought of that just made me a little sick, but I was still determined to try it at least once.
The next week, a few others were at dinner when the table next to them ordered cuy. I was told that it was a whole cuy brought out so the people could take a picture of it. Then, the chef cuts the cuy for you. But it still had its teeth and everything, with its mouth wide open. Luckily, I didn’t see it that night because it might have deterred me.
Today, Alanna and I went to a restaurant (I forget the name) near our hotel and decided to split a Cuy because it’s almost our last day. They brought out the cuy and it looked like a flying squirrel or a bat or something. It was so creepy because you could see the face and the eyes and the teeth and the claws and I was not about it. Of course, we took pictures of our meal first, but then we proceeded to try to cut the cuy ourselves. With our butter knives. The waitress came over and asked if we wanted it cut for us, so of course we said yes. A minute later, our cuy was back, but this time its head was cut off (still on the plate) and it had been cut into. It seemed that there was so little meat on the bones, and it was still so hard to get off. Finally, Alanna and I took our first bites of the cuy. It was not my favorite. It tasted like pickles to me, and I hate pickles. And it looked freaky, and it was hard to get the meat. I had a few bites, while Alanna tried to eat as much as she could (we did not want to waste our 50 soles). Alanna liked it more than I did, but still agreed she probably wouldn’t order it again. It was interesting, and I am glad that I tried it at least once, but I’m even more glad that I ordered spaghetti in addition to the cuy.