Cuy (pronounced “kwee”), which is…guinea pig. While it might seem unconventional to tuck into furry critters better known as domesticated pets in the West, this indigenous mammal has been a staple in Peru’s Andean diet for around 5,000 years. (It even has its own national holiday on the second Friday of October.)
HOW IT’S PREPARED
These rodents require little space and happily hoof up vegetable scraps, factors that make them ideal to farm. Gourmet cuy, however, are fed an exclusively alfalfa diet to ensure the meat is as tender as possible. They’re often cooked whole—yes, with the head, teeth, ears, and other parts left intact—and doused in salt and garlic to crisp up the skin.
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