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If you find yourself in Ecuador or Peru, try the Guinea Pig

  • c
  • christina z Dec 15, 1998 02:13 PM
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I tried it a couple of weeks ago in Cuzco, Peru. They
were serving it in Ecuador when I was there last year
but I wasn't as brave then. It has a taste all its
own. No, not at all like chicken. A little
chewy, a little gamey. Try it if you have the chance
and let me know what you think.

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  1. j
    Jonathan Gold

    Cuy is great, especially with that wildly
    fragrant black oregano they roast it with
    around Cuzco. (It's interesting to follow
    the track of cuy preparations on the altiplano:
    the closer you get to Bolivia, the more
    likely it is to be fried rather than roasted;
    the closer you get to Arequipa, the spicier it
    gets.)

    But it does look disconcertingly like a rat,
    neatly bisected lengthwise, on the plate.

    Didn't somebody just find a place on Long Island
    that serves cuy on weekends at $35 a pop?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jonathan Gold

      It wasn't all that cheap in Cuzco either (relative to
      other edibles). I don't know of anywhere on Long
      Island that serves Cuy but I'm pretty sure it can
      be had at some of the South American dining
      establishments in the Iron Bound section of Newark
      and perhaps under the Roosevelt Avenue El in Queens.
      Speaking of Peruvian delicacies, do you know where
      I can get some really outstanding Cerviche?

      Regards,

      cz

      1. re: christina z

        Had it in Cuzco abut 2 years ago and liked it (not
        loved - it was a little dry). We were a party of four
        and had dinner at a little upstairs restaurant right on
        the square overlooking the cathedral. Call me
        chicken ('xcuse the pun!) but I have to admit to being
        a little hesitant to try it here, after all, it
        resembles NYC's "offical" mammal a little too closely
        for me. At least on the plate.

        1. re: Barbara S

          OVer the summer, we drove the lenght of Roosevelt Ave
          with some visiting cousins. (Was is Eric Asimov who
          called it the shortest land route across Latin
          America?) I remember seeing some Ecuadorian restaurants
          with signs "Especialidad en Cuy" (or something like
          that). they were between the BQE and Flushing Meadow,
          I think closer to the BQE -- maybe a mile or so East.

          I have never had cuy. We have had guinea pigs a pets
          and my kids would kill me.

      2. re: Jonathan Gold

        Thank you Jonathan for identifying the black
        oregano--I also tried cuy in Cusco (after
        shying away from it in Ecuador the year before)
        and wondered what the black fragrant herb was.
        You're right, it's quite tasty... ours was
        served whole and perched on its hind legs a
        bit, its forepaws resting on a tomato (they
        then took and carved it... all a bit gimmicky,
        but effective). Someone told me they sometimes
        cook it at Coco Roco on 5th Ave in Brooklyn,
        but I don't remember seeing it there.

        1. re: Jonathan Gold

          Cuy is not just great, it also has a lot of proteins, that´s why lot of people in Perú like to eat it.

          1. re: Veronica Castro

            Eight years and a thread is re-connected. Forget about the cute little cuy. Try the big and delicious capybara/ronsoco or the smaller mahas! Smoked ronsoco from the market in Pucallpa!!! Bastante mejor que el jamon ahumado del Virginia.

          2. re: Jonathan Gold

            Glad you know about black oregano. Any chance you know where I might buy some. It"s excellent on pork roast also.

          3. Tried it when I was in Ecuador in 2006 .... it was roasted over an open flame and supposedly, this was one of the better restaurants for cuy. Sorry, can't remember the name; actually I saw Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre or Weird Foods) on his Travel Channel program and he was eating at that same place.

            By me, it was just okay ..... I don't know that I'd rave about it or feel the need to try again. However I got a kick out of people's responses, & look of horror when I got back home and told everyone about it!