Comida típica (typical food):Ecuador and Cuy (guinea pig)

A bit more about comida típica. After a visit to the equator in Quito, Ecuador some friends and I decided to go enjoy a local delicacy- cuy.  When I was a boy, we had a guinea pig named George who I loved and never look upon as food but in Ecuador they are loved differently and  named “Dinner”. IMAG2166

Fiambre’s, the restaurant, famous for guinea pig has been visited by the likes of   anthony_bourdain

Anthony Bourdain  IMAG2165

and Julio Iglesias.

With such an incredible reputation I had little doubt of the deliciousness of the rodent that awaited me.

The cuy was accompanied by potatoes and avocado (very typical sides here).

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The meat was tender and delicious, particularly the legs. I know, they leave the head on, it’s a bit over the top.

As much as I enjoyed the juicy little pig I don’t think I will add it to my own menu at home.IMAG2161

A full pig runs 20USD (Ecuador uses the dollar at the moment).  It’s a bit spendy for the amount of meat on the pig but as a one time novelty not bad . I never thought about George once, is that bad?

I hope you have enjoyed this culinary adventure as much as I. Check out comida típica from Colombia as well and my other posts on food. Feel free to comment here or on Facebook.

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More about birdwatching tours to Ecuador and Galápagos Island cruises coming soon.

51 thoughts on “Comida típica (typical food):Ecuador and Cuy (guinea pig)

  1. I tried to eat cuy when l was there. we were at market and after much deliberation I got up the nerve to walk up to the ladies cooking the cuy, one of them the pulled one out of the fire on a stick and held it up for me…..it had been cooked whole and when I saw it’s little face I immediately thought of my little buddy “carrot” and couldn’t go through with it! If it had been on plate, unrecognizable maybe I could have stomached it…maybe!
    Enjoy! Ellie

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  2. I had it in Peru, a couple of different ways and I found it to be a cross between duck and chicken because it was slightly greasy, but not as tasty as duck. Why draw the line at insects?

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      • 🙂 I was being sarcastic, although I’ve not been given the opportunity. I’d probably have to try it if/when it happens, but with as many as there are, I figure that everyone would be turning it in to a major restaurant chain if they were that appealing.

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      • ooooh, I thought it was a food challenge. I was once at a market in the Amazon and they were eating these huge, pulsating live grubs with hot sauce. They were the size of a proper marshmallow. No. No. No. Not. Can’t.

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      • Awesome. I’m very sure that is about some amazing hot sauce. Would you do it if you were in a food challenge?

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      • Well,hhahaha, I don’ t think a food challenge would change my mind either. Sounds like the premise for a really goofy reality show though. Ha, sure it’s been done already.

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  3. it a food in the mountains of ecuador, in the coast we don’t eat guinea pig, more fish, and seafood , and banane plantain , coco or peanut

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  4. I remember when I was in Peru the restaurants had large habitats/houses (they weren’t actually cages so I’m not sure which word to use!) for the guinea pigs so that they could run around and stay active. It seemed like although they were going to be cooked for someone’s dinner, they still had a pretty good life. I guess they were kind of like free range guinea pigs!

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  5. I could never eat anything that my grandchildren would consider a pet. 🙂 I saw the poor guinea pigs on spits, when we visited Peru. Of course I took a photo, but wasn’t tempted to try it. Leaving the head on would really freak me out at dinner.

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    • I think in the past pets and heads were nprobably detoured me. I passed on dogs in Viet Nam and cuy before. Since then I have become much more of a hunter/ fisher and it does not bother me as much. I feel much more connected to the food I eat, but I digress…

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  6. Way to be culinarily (a word? yes?) adventuresome! I’m a vet who regularly treats guinea pigs, and I got a ton of crap from my colleagues upon returning from Ecuador talking about how good cuy was. “It’s a win-win: if things go wrong in the operating room, at least she has dinner!”

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    • Hmmm, not sure I would eat a post op cuy. I think I would stick with the fresh. That’s just me. And yes, amongst our friends we will often be the strange ones who do the “questionable”. Cheers

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  7. My high school spanish teacher was obsessed with scaring us with tales of cuy. Not sure I could handle eating guinea pig (my close friend loves her guinea pig like crazy and she might de-friend me), but it’s fun to see the foods of other cultures!

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  8. Nice post. I got invited to dinner by a woman who raised cuy for a living. When she needed food, or supplies of any sort, she put 6 of her 40-50 cuy in a bag and headed to the market. Then she came home with rice, light bulbs, etc etc. A big advantage of cuy, is it’s size. This community didn’t have refrigeration, so cooking meat that could be consumed immediately was important. Guinea Pigs are also easy and inexpensive to feed and keep. It was really a great experience to meet her. And as the saying goes, “it tastes like chicken”.

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    • Wow, that is such a cool story. One for the books. It really brings something to light that is not always easy to convey in writing and that’s how truly different our lives are and how easy it is to take for granted something like a refrigerator. Thanks for sharing that story with me and everyone here. Saludos!

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    • They are “free range” and yes raised for eating. They taste like a chicken stuffed with a duck stuffed with a pig. They are tasty but I was not a big fan of making eye contact with it while I ate it. Check out the comment just above made by “midlifemusingsblog”, very interesting.

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    • Yes, bone wise its a bit like a fish! When I was in Cambodia years back a friend and I went to the night market for dinner. With no light besides a few candles we squinted at our choices. We got some chicken satay,rice, and ginger beef. I sat sucking on the little beeflets when I realized the bones were tiny. Super tiny. I turned to my friend and told her they seemed small. She turned with her strong German accent and said yes those are the bones of a small mammal. I gave the rest of it to some begging children. Since that time though I have realized that rats there are domesticated as guinea pigs are in the Andes. Where did you live in Peru?

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      • I lived in Lima, but got to travel extensively (I was an International teacher). One of my favorite trips was the 4-day Inka trail. My husband is Peruvian; now we are back stateside, but I am itching to travel! I’m half Greek, so the Greek isles are the next on our list, want to visit family and swim in the Mediterranean! And eat a gyros! 🙂

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  9. Pingback: Ecuador: How to make chocolate from seed to bar by hand | ExploreDreamDiscover Talks

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