In many regions of Ecuador and Bolivia, cuy (Spanish for “Guinea Pig”) is a common delicacy, while in Peru it’s even the national dish. Grilled, smoked or fried — a freshly prepared cuy makes many Ecuadorian hearts leap for joy. However, even though I am not a Vegetarian and this blog isn’t a scientific treatise neither, I will give you five reasons why you should not eat cuy.
My first C-U-Y!
On my way to the Quilotoa laguna, I stopped at a famous, but traditional cuy place where I finally ate my first, grilled guinea pig. After reading and hearing so much about this “fancy” Ecuadorian plate, I definitely had to try it myself. As you can see on the pictures, it was served with boiled potatoes, avocado and a cheese-like sauce.
So, why do I not recommend you the cuy?
- Cuy really tastes like chicken! So, my advice, eat the proper animal, if you are keen on eating chicken!
- There is seriously (almost no) meat! …Which means that, you technically do not miss anything, if you do not eat it.
- For local circumstances, it is also way too expensive! You easily pay 10 US $ p. cuy, while a “regular” three course menu including drinks cost you like 3 US $.
- The cross, grilled or fried skin of the cuy really is the worst part about the dish! (By the way, most Ecuadorians do not like it either.)
- Cuy is high in protein and low in fat — just like beans. So, why don’t you (morally inoffensive) enjoy beans instead? :-)
So, now what?
That I do not recommend you to eat the cuy, however, does not mean that you shouldn’t taste Ecuador’s traditional cuisine. But, if you really want to try a traditional dish, you better go for the following, worth-eating Ecuadorian plates:
- Menestras — Typical dish that consists of rice, plantain, lenses and your choice of (real) meat
- Llapingachos — Delicious hash browns filled with cheese and roasted in oil
- Locro de Papa — Tasty potato soup, usually served with avocado, egg and cheese as a toping
- Choclos con Habas — Also a very traditional dish: corncobs served with horse beans and cheese
- Sopa de Quinoa / Quinoa soup — tasty and healthy and the same time since Quinoa is considered to be one of the world’s “superfoods”
- Ceviche — Last but not least, a delicious fish bowl, prepared with lemon and onions