Latin America

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?