Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Guinea Pig in Brooklyn


cabrales
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have been a long time lurker on this board but I had to post my recent experience with the guinea pig in Peru.

I never knew that the guinea pig was a food until a special on Food TV a few years ago. One of the segments of the show (maybe Extreme Cuisine) was about an Ecuadorian wedding where it was presented as a special meal. My wife and I wanted to try it so we asked around until we got the name of a restaurant in NY but we never actually went to check it out.

Now its two years later and we were planning a trip to Peru. After reading that the GP/cuy was an important food source in the highlands we knew that we would have to try it. We were on a mission…

Part I: The Farm

It was our second day in Peru and our guide took us to a native Indian bar to try chicha which was a home made, beer like drink made from sprouted corn. After trying it we wandered around the back where we discovered a room where the GPs were raised. The room was about 12’ x 18’ with a dirt floor. The walls were made of stone and adobe brick and it did not smell. They seemed to be well cared for and clean.

farm.jpg

Part II: Cuzco

When we arrived in Cuzco, we began our mission to locate the cuy. Since this may be the first, and only time that I would have it I felt that it should be the best available. Since there was no Zagat guide for Cuzco we had to ask around. Eventually we decided on a restaurant called El Truco which was highly recommended.

Part III: GP Tasting, El Truco Restaurant, Day 3

There it was on the menu, roasted Cuy. It was listed as one of the specials of the house. As you can see in the picture it was presented in its glorious entirety. I had no idea where to begin! Should I bite into it like a chicken leg or tease it apart with a fork and knife? I tried approaching it like a roast chicken but it was not so easy. The skin was *very* thick and the utensils that I had were insufficient to even break the skin. Fortunately the waiter came over after I made a few motions with my hands and he brought it into the kitchen to have it sectioned for me.

roast.jpg

roast2.jpg

Again, I started with the skin but I still couldn’t cut it. It was like trying to cut into a football with a butter knife. I tried picking it up in my hands and biting it but I had to give up because it would not tear. The meat on the other hand was better than I expected. It was heavily seasoned and fairly soft. The color was a little darker than dark meat chicken and it was moist. I have thought a lot about what other foods to compare it to but the only thing I can compare it to would be duck (I do not have the experience with other rodents, silky bantam? Or wild rabbit so I can’t comment on those animals). The biggest problem that I had was that the meat to bone ratio was not favorable. It took a lot of work to pick off the meat on this small rodent but it was worth it. I was very happy that it tasted good (not great) and I can add this to the list of unique, regional foods that I have tried. Would I eat it again? Maybe, but I would not seek it out.

If you find yourself in South America (or Brooklyn) give it a try.

Keba

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The meat on the other hand was better than I expected.  It was heavily seasoned and fairly soft.  The color was a little darker than dark meat chicken and it was moist.  I have thought a lot about what other foods to compare it to but the only thing I can compare it to would be duck (I do not have the experience with other rodents, silky bantam? Or wild rabbit so I can’t comment on those animals).

My fisherman friend tried cuy several times in Peru a few years back and described it in similar terms. He's had rabbit, but still said the texture of the meat was closer to duck, not as gamey as expected and certainly not overly salty. (An intrepid traveller, he also managed to choke down belut in the Philipines :shock: )

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keba, a wonderful coming-out post. Please share more of your adventures with us in the future.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, thanks Keba. That all seems to accord with my experience. We soon got down to using our hands on the cuy, and there were indeed a lot of bones. The lower section of our cuys had been sort of spatchcocked, so they lay flat on the plate. Yours looks comparatively perky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Below are photos of the cuy dish. Thanks to Steven for scanning the photos and lodging them on his website.

cab1.jpg

Note the elongated body of the cuy, and the "intact" nature of its head. The dish in the background is cooked ceviche.

cab2.jpg

cab4.jpg

Depiction of teeth.

Other photos that may be of interest to NY members:

cab3.jpg

cab8.jpg

Cello closing notices.

cab5.jpg

Wilfrid's balut at Elvie's Turo Turo (the subject of another thread in this forum). My then unopened duck egg is to the right, with a little medium blue stamp indicating "Treat" on the shell.

cab9.jpg

My balut, with the shell removed. Note the "veining" effects.

cab10.jpg

The interior of my balut. Note the distinct areas representing the yolk, the white and the embedded duck flesh. :laugh:

cab6.jpg

'Ino's truffled egg tast (the subject of another thread in this forum)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...