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Blog: A brief history of Guinea Pigs


May 2017

A brief history of Guinea Pigs

Posted by / in Blog, Featured Posts, frontpage, South America, Tavistock Travel Agents, Traveller's Tales /

Guinea pig, or “cuy” as they’re called in South America, is a traditional dish in the Andean region of Peru and Ecuador. The taste is compared to rabbit, thought delicious, and though difficult to accept for people in other countries who regard guinea pigs as pets, the cuy is a staple of Andean cuisine.


They are called “cuy” for the sound they make cuy, cuy.


The cuy has a place in pre-Colombian Inca tradition: consumed only by the nobility or used as a sacrifice and a means of foretelling the future via the entrails, there is a long history of the Guinea Pig (Cavia porcellus) in South America.


Cuys are today raised commercially and form a nutritious part of the Andean diet. They grow to an astonishing 4 Kg. They are an important part of the Novo-Andina cuisine; cuys are prepared in various ways according to region, but in Peru, they are usually served with potatoes or rice and a savory, spicy sauce. In the Huancayo region, the cuy is preferred fried with a sauce of pepper and achiote. In Arequipa, it is prepared baked as cuy chaktado and in Cuzco, it is baked whole, as a small suckling pig, with a hot pepper in its mouth. In Huanuco, Tacna and Cajamarca, the preference is also for friend cuy.

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