Here is a picture of me eating the little cuy.
Do you know what ‘cuy’ is? Well I did, and I ordered it anyway. At dinner tonight. And I am now ashamed of myself. You see, ‘cuy’ is a Peruvian delicacy which is known to us in the West as “guinea pig”.
I don’t know what possessed me. I mean, I don’t normally find it appetizing to eat something that could be classified as either a rodent, or something that could be someone’s pet. I mean, I wouldn’t eat cat, or dog, or horse, or rabbit. But for some reason I chose today to be adventurous at the Map cafe in Cuzco (which is a restaurant in the middle of a courtyard at one of the museums in Cuzco and highly recommended).
Well, my cuy came out, and it was three little guinea pig legs, fried to crispy perfection. Now, I normally don’t like to eat ANYTHING off the bone. I never eat chicken wings for example. So right away I was at a disadvantage. Second, once the plate is in front of you, there is no way of rationalizing or justifying it… you are looking at three little legs that used to belong to someone’s pet guinea pig that was slaughtered and deep fried and put in front of me just so I could chew and digest its tasty flesh.
And make no mistake, cuy is extremely tasty.
At one point I looked down at my cuy leg, which I was eating with a fork and knife, and said to Ann, “It just hit me. I’m eating a guinea pig.”
What the hell was I thinking!? I mean, I am one of the pickiest and least adventurous eaters you can imagine, and here I am ordering rodent because the locals call it a delicacy. I mean, in Thailand they have tarantulas as a delicacy, but I would never eat one of those! So what the hell possessed me to order cuy I have no idea, but I did my best to scrape what little (tasty) meat there was off the little rodent legs that had been deep fried and tried not to think about little Pedro or Pablo whose pet had been killed so I could have my curiosity satisfied.
The funniest thing was when the waiter brought a bowl of hot water scented with lime. A normal person would know what to do with that, but Ann had to explain to me, “Usually people eat meat like that with their hands. It’s to wash your hands with.”
Duh. I mean, of course I would want to eat my rodent leg meat with my hands, so I could get right in there and sink my teeth into his little hind legs and better rip all the meat from his little bones.
Ugh. I’ll never forgive myself.
Anyway, if you go to Peru, I recommend the cuy. Tasty.