Well, it started on an ‘off the beaten path’ adventure in 1997, during a 20 month journey from Mexico to Chile.
Although we weren’t vegequarians (veges & seafood :-) back then, we didn’t expect to be confronted with the exotic variety of animals that were considered an honour to eat!
One such delicacy was ‘Cuy’, or in English, ‘Guinea Pig’! Yes, those very same cute animals that many of us here in Australia like to keep as pets. Despite the fact that they are not native to South America, they have become quite a valuable food source in both Peru & Ecuador.
Our introduction to this unique cuisine was very unexpected… it all happened during a hike from one small Peruvian village to another.
As we approached a small village / community of about 10 families, we were met and greeted by the usual hoards of curious children. Then we were met by the parents of some of these kids, who invited us to share lunch with them. My girlfriend (now my wife) and I accepted, and were let into their kitchen, where we were confronted by several guinea pigs running around in the corner… The father grabbed one, and voila, it was lunch!
We knew that such an offering was an honour, saved for special occasions… So we ate with smiling faces, knowing our pet could be on our plate. Almost 15 years on, we are in awe of how simply these people live, growing what they need, living with gratitude and generosity.
Of Guinea Pigs, and other delicacies
Jr. Alfonso Ugarte y
Huamachuco La Libertad