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Jul 16, 2013 06:06 PM

Guinea Pig in LA??

As many know, Guinea pig is a staple meat in South America, most notably Peru.

I would love to try it. Has anyone seen it at any restaurant around LA?

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  1. Don't think so, but you gotta figure that there must be some restaurant in K town, if anyplace does it, serving it up.

    1. The locals in Lima didn't even like cuy and made terrified faces when we asked if they had tried it before. Many of the people we talked to actually had never tried it. It's more of an Andean cuisine thing and not Peru in general and certainly not a staple across South America. Doubt you're going to be able to find a place serving it.

      1. Cuy.

        You're just asking for a PETA posse to set up camp outside your eatery if you even think of putting it on the menu here in L.A.

        Yes, I've had it in Peru, while trekking the Andes. Tastes like rat. (Looks like rat, for that matter...) The seaside towns (e.g. Lima) don't really eat cuy much. Have the ceviche when in Lima.

        9 Replies
        1. re: J.L.

          "Tastes like rat."

          Okay, I'll bite (g)...How do you know that?

            1. re: J.L.

              Which one was tastier, rat or gp? Are both of them only "dark" meat? Did you sample any other "pet category" critters in China, other than the rat?

              1. re: Servorg

                Rat is (believe it or not) less gamey than cuy.

                Both rat & cuy have virtually no meat on them bones, even when the locals breed them to fatten them up a bit. I think all the fat goes into the fire when they grill each on a spit... Very unsatisfying.

                In China, I tried eating my way through the Chinese zodiac. Ran up against a brick wall when they told me the dragon is a mythical beast. (Phoenix claws, however...)

          1. re: J.L.

            Never had rat so to me tasted like gamey rabbit with barely any meat. The version I tried was marinated in spices like pollo a la brasa so not bad flavorwise but not much meat to be had. Certainly no desire to try it again.

            Regarding rat in Beijing, JL, did you know it was rat or did it just wind up in your dish "accidentally". ;-)

            1. re: Porthos

              Cuy in foreground, lamb seco to right, pork ribs braised in beer on left.

              1. re: Porthos

                I saw the rat on a spit next to the scorpions on a stick. Definitely a rodent of some sort in general morphology. It was on a dare from someone who did not know me well.

                Also, the sign said ιΌ  (I read traditional Chinese). As I was ordering, I thought to myself: "This IS China, after all... They better not substitute another meat for this."

                Then I realized: How bad can it get? I'm intentionally ordering rat. Would the street cart owner secretly substitute A5 Kagoshima Wagyu onto my plate and secretly laugh as he fools the foreigner?

                1. re: J.L.

                  Not gonna lie, I will probably never set foot in Beijing or eat anything in Beijing ever again. The stories you hear, we'll...they're not just stories.

                2. re: Porthos

                  Anything that tastes somewhat like pollo a la brassa is good in my book...

              2. Picca had it once as part of an "exotic" menu/event one night.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chrishei

                  One man's exotic is another man's chicken. The Andeans eat quite a bit of cuy.

                2. I had it at a Peruvian/Colombian restaurant in Lawndale that has now closed - Cuy was on the specials blackboard, but unlike all the rest of the items there was not translated into English. When I insisted they served it to me, and it wasn't bad - much like I remember from Lima. When I asked were they had gotten it, suddenly nobody spoke English, and my Spanish that had previously worked just fine was suddenly impossible to understand.

                  Polarica used to have it available for ordering, but I haven't checked lately. Cuy, also known as nutria, are a pest in Louisiana where they escaped from fur farms, and the fish and game department there periodically holds recipe competitions hoping that Cajuns will take a fancy to them and drive them extinct.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: FoodObsessive

                    Are you sure about this sentence being accurate "Cuy, also known as nutria..."? I mean Nutria grow to be 10 lbs and that would be one big ass guinea pig.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Oops, my mistake - coypu is the South American name or nutria, not cuy.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Cuy aka guinea pig is not the same as nutria.

                        Guinea Pig-
                        Scientific name: Cavia porcellus

                        Scientific name: Myocastor coypus

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Yes, I made a mistake there - I'm not sure which they were serving at Mi Ama in Lawndale, as both are eaten in parts of Peru and Bolivia.