Roasted Guinea Pigs (Peru)

Roasted Guinea Pigs
Roasted Guinea Pig – Photo by Phillie Casablanca

You have likely heard of at least one person with a guinea pig for a pet.  But did you know that in Peru guinea pigs are considered to be a delicacy?  Yes, Peruvian people eat guinea pigs.  Especially in the Andean region of Peru, these small furry creatures are roasted before they are served.  The dish is known by the name cuy chactado.

Guinea pigs that are destined to be cooked are grown much larger than those that are kept as pets.  Sometimes they are the main course, but more often they are an appetizer or a snack.  They are also included in the pachamanca, which is a meat banquet that involves many different types of meats like pork and beef along with various vegetables and herbs.  The mixture is prepared in an underground oven on top of hot stones.

Cavia prcellus has been an important part of Andean cuisine, culture and medicine for more than 40 centuries.  To this day, guinea pigs continue to be a vital source of protein for many in the region.

24 comments

  1. Knowledgable Person

    Culture is culture – no one is an idiot because their culture differs from another. They simply live a different lifestyle and eat different foods. There are some cultures that eat dogs and cats – to them it’s no different than eating cows. Contrariwise, there are cultures in which to eat a cow would be considered a horrific sin.

  2. David

    Yummy… Sorry “John”, you sir are the idiot.Live in a world where isn’t a local Walmart to ge your meat… & “Lisa” if the only meat/protein that’s around are cats & dogs… Yup, Fluffy & Fido will be on my dinner table. It’s all about using your resources & growing up/living in a vastly different world then the so called “civilized” world. Don’t look down upon a culture,unless you yourselves have lived it. I have, I’ve lived in MANY parts of the world growing up h I saw/lived/& ATE many things that the Western world you seem disgusting. In fact, they were delicious.

  3. steven gruber

    Like Andrew says, “if it looks good eat it”. Idiots need to travel and expand their culinary and intellectual horizons.Bon appetit!!

  4. Luis Terrazas

    This is awful… I have two guinea pigs and they are the most cute pets in the world. They are funny, sweet and they run and jump all around. I know it is culture, but I find it repulsive and just thinking about it makes me sick.

  5. Jonas

    I am open-minded about food and understand this, but it’s still hard to look at the roasted cute guinea pig.

    My culture is not used to seeing heads attached to our food, as most of the time we disassociate animal foods from animals. Even a fish head freaks some people out, or a braised cow’s cheek or smoked cow tongue. A whole raw chicken is in ways vaguely similar to a human baby. We strangely project anthropomorphic traits on our meat animals and that makes us uneasy about any of their biological similarities to humans.

    • Virgil Ermitano

      If your culture is from Europe, most countries in Europe, Prague, Germany, just to name a few, eat roasted pig with their heads attached. We just came from Europe last year (2013) and they roasted the whole pig, with the head attached, on a special kind of oven and they are on full display on the streets in front of the restaurants, and almost all restaurants serve them. Just google “roasted pig Europe” and you’ll see what I mean.

    • OaklandEasy

      How is it cruel if it was raised to be eaten? Open your mind to other cultures. People in Peru have been eating that animal for thousands of years.

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