During our furlough in the states we received lots of questions about Peru's most famous dish: Guinea Pig! Each year Peruvians eat an estimated 65 million guinea pigs. The little critters are known as "cuy" here in Peru. For thousands of years cuy was the main source of protein in Peruvian diets. The Inca Indians were especially fond of this readily available food source. Even today many mountain families breed cuy to provide food for their families.
The Peruvian National Agrarian Research Institute has been working on a special "Super-Cuy" or "Mega-Cuy." They've managed to breed guinea pigs that weigh up to seven pounds! They are hoping that a revival in "cuy-cuisine" might improve the diets of Peru's poor. The meat is rich in protein and contains less fat than chicken, pork or beef. The taste has been compared to rabbit.
We've eaten cuy several times during our years in Peru. It's not terrible, it's not really enjoyable either. Thankfully its most popular outside of Lima! However, times are changing! As Debbie prepared her grocery list she flipped through the sales ad of the local grocery store chain. We were a bit surprised to see that cuy was on sale this week and readily available in the frozen food section! Perhaps the "Mega-Cuy" will have a little more meat and a little better taste. We'll let you know if they run another special!
Thinking of visiting your local pet store and picking up a cuy for dinner? Take a look at this Peruvian goverment site that offers lots of tasty recipes and ideas for preparing your favorite little pet.