Updated on September 14, 2016
A Peruvian delicacy for lunch (the other white meat)
How did I recover from such a terrible bout of altitude sickness? Yes, I owe it to coca leaves but the true remedy was this famous Peruvian delicacy.
“The best way to show guests that a family is doing well [in income] is, first, how many people they invite, and if they are able to serve an entire piece of (pause)… what is about to come,” said Enrique Virto, our guide from Vantage Adventures.
The host family had invited twenty Americans to their beautiful abode; a four-course meal of every flavor imaginable. We smiled nervously not knowing what the final coup de grâce would be.
First up was an appetizer of quinoa soup, then dishes of “big ass corn” (coined by Mark) or Choclo, followed by yellow potatoes and sides of mush made from the purple lupin plant called tarwi, along with several dollops of other Peruvian traditions. Finally, the 6,000-year-old rodent made it’s debut.
The guests let out a gasp as a fully developed cuy (pronounced “kwee”) or guinea pig with head, teeth, ears and all body parts left intact was served. It had been roasted to a shiny brownish red glow.
It would be incredibly impolite, let alone a disgrace to the travel writing industry, not to try a bite so we carefully, warily, picked at the meat.
The verdict, it wasn’t bad! Yes, sort-of a cross between rabbit and chicken but no gamey smell and no tough texture. A little on the boney side but not bad!
Bottom line: don’t leave home without trying, even a small bite. Or, do like Liz did, and chew on the greasy fried skin that tastes “a lot like pork rinds”.