Eat pigs guinea pigs

Guinea pigs: a completely normal dish in Peru

Interesting facts - background - preparation

Before you delve into this report, let me make one note: I love guinea pigs. My children have two at home with us. We feed them, stroke them, carry them around and clean the cage - I WOULD NEVER EAT IT!

But in Latin America - especially in Peru - Cuy is a completely normal dish! Because the Peruvians - 32 million there are - even eat 65 million guinea pigs a year, I thought to myself, this is a topic for our blog. * Because our travelers will always have menus in front of them that offer fried cuy. Or they will pass street kitchens where the little rodents are sizzled. A strange - I personally find it even a deterrent - picture. But now, different countries, different customs.

The relationship between people in the Andean countries and guinea pigs is completely different from ours. We only have pets. There are farm animals there. you have to keep this in mind.

Under Cuy or giant guinea pigs particularly large specimens of the house guinea pig are understood. The animals are kept as fattening animals and weigh between two and three kilos. By way of comparison: our house guinea pigs sometimes manage to weigh around 1.5 kilograms with a rich diet. Adult Cuys are about 30 cm long. The so-called cobayos, which can even reach a body length of 50 cm and a weight of 4 kilos, are an exception. As a rule, however, the guinea pigs eaten in Peru weigh only 500 to 600 grams.

Guinea pigs are on the menu in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. They are used to the height and, as livestock, have low demands, so that small farmers keep them in stables or even in the house. Fed with kitchen waste, the guinea pigs serve primarily the poor population as an inexpensive and important source of meat. It is a protein-rich everyday food that should be reminiscent of rabbits in terms of taste. Guinea pigs can also be found on the menu in restaurants in cities. There is evidence that guinea pigs have been living in Latin America since around 900 BC. Eaten.

Wild guinea pigs live in the grassy plains in the Andes and also in the mountainous regions at an altitude of around 4,000 m. The only difference is that they do not occur in the rainforest.

And where does the name guinea pig come from? It is believed that it came about because Spanish sailors brought the animals across the sea to Europe and the squeaking is reminiscent of our domestic pigs. The rounded body should also be reminiscent of pigs.

* A comparison: we Germans eat 41 million rabbits per year. That is an average of 0.5 rabbits per inhabitant per year. They are especially eaten at Easter.

Guinea pig dishes

In Peru, every Andean region has its own recipes for guinea pig dishes. In Cusco, like suckling pig, it is grilled in a dark brown color.

For Cuy chactado (typical for the Arequipa region) the guinea pig is gutted and cooked whole - similar to a chicken. The meat is first rubbed with spices and then needs to stand for a couple of hours. Cayenne pepper is the most important spice. Then it is fried in the pan. Potatoes and a sauce called salsa criolla are served with cuy. It is common to serve the whole animal on the plate - including the head.