Top destinations of the moment in South America
  • Tour Ideas
Trip Types
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions
An update from Evaneos

Guinea pig, Ecuador's national dish

Put prejudice aside and settle down to a serving of guinea pig a traditional dish to be tried during your trip to Ecuador.

An unusual speciality

As any traveller will tell you, to fully appreciate a country you need to discover its cultural heritage, meet its people and sample its culinary delights. In order to avoid any nasty cultural surprises during your trip to Ecuador, you're going to have to put prejudice aside because, at some point, you may well be served an Ecuadorian speciality - guinea pig.

You'll see women on markets stuffing dozens of cute little guinea pigs into huge jute sacks. It's not an easy feat for a Westerner to eat one. Quite simply because most of us have images of fluffy pets bouncing around the garden. How on earth are you going to explain to your kids, nieces or nephews that you ate guinea pigs during your trip? In truth, building up the courage is much harder than actually eating one.

Guinea pig kebab

How are they prepared?

First of all, guinea pigs are a delicacy that cost quite a lot. They're served during celebratory meals and often eaten on a Sunday. It's their equivalent of our roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

If you want to order guinea pig in a restaurant, you'll need to ask for 'cuy'. Which is pronounced 'kwee'. It can be prepared in any number of ways. Cuy can be grilled, served with a spicy sauce, potatoes and rice, or roasted (al horno) and stuffed. It needs to be well prepared and cooked to perfection for it to be edible. If not, you'll be left with little meat, as it's a small animal and very fatty. Indeed, you really need to be an Ecuadorian if you're going to appreciate or comment on the quality of your meal. All the same, it's a once in a lifetime experience - so give it a try, even if it's just for a great photo opportunity.

David Debrincat
459 contributions