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What does Guinea Pig taste like?

You’re reading this post because you’re curious, which, ideally, is one of the best traits for a traveller. It’s no secret that one of Peru’s most famous snacks just happens to be Britain’s seventh most popular pet, the snuffly-nosed Guinea Pig.

We’re not asking you to take sides; at the end of the day, it’s a fact of life that one man’s pet is another man’s pie filling, so we won’t open that debate today.

But what we will do, is bring you first hand accounts of what Guinea Pig actually tastes like, from seven STA Travel staffers who have each spent time travelling in Peru.

Hands up if you’ve tasted Guinea Pig?

Coming up are real, first hand experiences from some of our staff who have tasted Guinea Pig in Peru. Be warned: some readers may be put off their Quavers.

Sam G
I tasted a spit-roast Guinea Pig a few years back, while on the Southern Cross trip.

I can honestly say it’s not the most appetising of animals. Imagine the brown, stringy meat, from close to the bone on a chicken leg… but greasier and not much of it. Also it wasn’t exactly visually appealing.

Simon B
Me and my friends tasted Guinea Pig as part of a buffet on the way to the Colca Canyon, and as people say about most things, “It tasted like chicken!” — and it really does, but quite chewy as there isn’t much meat on the bones.

Adam MB
Cuy — as it’s known to the locals — tastes a little bit like duck; almost a grey meat, it’s very rich and very oily. You can have it deep-fried like this bad boy here, made as fillets, or even a stew. Just beware of a curse I truly believe in… it’s know as Guinea Pigs’ revenge!

Adam B
I was in South America last year and tried it a few times. I would describe it as tasting like chewy, fishy chicken with a few charred hairs thrown in there too!

Sam S
Hopefully by admitting I have eaten Guinea Pig I won’t be shunned by the pet-loving community! Perhaps it’s best to first explain I was once the proud owner of two excellent Guinea Pigs — Hugs and Cuddles — so I don’t hate pets… I just love trying new things!

I ate Guinea pig near Puno on the border between Bolivia and Peru. It’s hard to identify what the Guinea Pig tasted like, because it was drowned in a pretty spicy sauce. I had a similar experience in China when I had turtle, and it just tasted like cloves.

Maybe the lesson here is that the cuter and smaller an animal, the more the chef will try to hide its real flavour with lots of spices? Either way, I couldn’t find a strong distinct flavour but would be interested to know if other people thought otherwise.

A lot of people have barbecued Guinea Pig, maybe this gives a more authentic taste?

David A
Guinea Pig tastes a little like Cantonese duck; in a wet and fatty sense. Good though: beats sheep’s head soup!

Clare B
Guinea Pig is very rich, despite its size. Half a guinea pig is enough for most people.

Interestingly, the cathedral in Cuzco has a painting of the Last Supper, with the disciples all sitting down to eat Guinea Pig (see below).

Interestingly, they also have a statue of a very pregnant Virgin Mary!

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experience on sampling one of Peru’s more curious offerings. It’s an interesting round-up, and sure to quench the curiosity of any traveller who devours today’s blog post.

Sounds … interesting! I’m off for a cheese sandwich, but before I go — let me know if you would try guinea pig on a trip to Peru, or perhaps you’ve tried something even more obscure?
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Showing 9 Comments

  1. Kate G

    After sampling guinea pig in Peru, we paid a trip to a road-side food stall in Phomn Penh Cambodia in search of our own bushtucker trial. We’d gone to try the tarantula (but it had, ironically, all sold out), so we ended up with cockroaches and baby snake on a skewer instead. Weird. Very weird…

    1438 days ago
    • Sounds like that guinea pig whetted your appetite for trying some of the world’s weirdest food, Kate! What did cockroach and snake taste like?

      1437 days ago
    • Steve

      You’ll be glad you missed out on the tarantula Kate! Our tour guide said the body would taste like omelette but really it just tasted like charred twigs…eugh

      1434 days ago
    • Daniel Mc

      I tried the tarantula in Phomn Penh, admittedly it was incredibly fried with a lot of spices. I remember it being very crispy…
      Also tried snake while there too, that was like very bony chicken. And finally wild cat which we confiscated from a poacher (already cooked and cured I might add!). I don’t recommend it, it was like off beef…

      1433 days ago
  2. Vicky

    I spent hours watching some Peruvian ladies up in the Andes prepare some guinea pigs. They spent ages meticulously shaving them with a plastic razor and then gutted them before spit roasting them. Don’t know if it was really worth the effort for the amount of meat they got, but they love them!

    1434 days ago
  3. Cat

    The painting in the church in Cuzco is a chinchilla if the explanation beside it is to be believed! We thought it was a Guinea pig as well!

    1434 days ago
  4. Ornella

    My 5 year old daughter and I tried it in Cusco too with our Peruvian friend, he did warn us it was quite pricey, but we had to try it! It seemed to take a very long time to cook, and when it finally arrived it was presented with a chilli coming out of it’s mouth, almost dragon like. And splayed on the plate. There was more meat then we thought. There seem to be tricks to eat the bits that looked like they had no meat. It took forever to eat.

    It had a fishy taste to it. I’m glad I tried it but I don’t think either of us will be trying it again. Alpaca on the other hand, absolutely delicious!

    1429 days ago
  5. Mitch

    Tried it in Cuzco, dry roasted in a clay oven. It was a bit stringy and tasted a bit like shredded duck but very dry. Tried it again in Puno, shallow fried in breadcrumbs and herbs. Tasted like the juiciest piece of pork I’ve ever eaten.
    Also tried giant grasshoppers and cockroaches in Thailand but they only tasted of the spices they were cooked in.

    1428 days ago
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