Eating Guinea Pigs in Ecuador

Cuy in Ecuador

Cuy in Ecuador

In Ecuador, a very small percentage of the population eat Guinea Pig. Called cuy, originating from the sound the animal makes, it is a domesticated farm animal and not hunted. To be treated to a cuy feast is considered quite an honor in Ecuador culture as it is a delicacy often reserved for special occasions like christenings or weddings. Cuyes are sold live at markets, cooked by street vendors and served in urban restaurants. Most people who eat them for the first time do it as a dare or to be adventurous. Others find it disconcerting to see the lovable little critters being eaten with relish after being roasted, fricasseed, fried, broiled, boiled or made into soup.

7 thoughts on “Eating Guinea Pigs in Ecuador

  • We (a group that I led to Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands) took part in a wonderful cultural experience in mainland Ecuador in which we experienced the dining on cuy as well as a very powerful music and story-telling through dance experience while we were in the Otavalo region. Cuy is quite delicious (wood-oven baked). As were many of the Ecuadorian dishes that we tried for the first time. While it might be challenging to eat meat that some of us in North America or other countries grow as pets, it might help to take our “pet hats” off and understand the care in which this dining tradition takes place in Ecuador. The cuy, like cattle, are raised expressly for the purpose of being dined on. Like pigs, like rabbits, like ostrich, like elk, or any other meat that we eat.

  • I was in Peru for the hike to Machu Pichu and Guinea Pigs were on the menu ever where. After our hike was over we had time to tour the country and ended up in Ariquipa, in the southern part of Peru. Got bold one day and went for it. Maybe it wasn’t done in the respectful tradition described here but, it was terrible.

    The meat was like squirrel and it had been deep fried skin on.


    Peru was wonderful over all though beautiful and still largely undeveloped country.

  • I was borned in Ecuador and cuy is a traditional dish served there.Its reaalllly good but ofcourse people that were not raised eating that, may think otherwise.Its like eating pizza in the United States, if people don’t like cheese then they will think its disgusting right?

  • We saw it as well everywhere around Machu Pichu. Never got the nerve up to try it. Even now I don’t know if I could bring myself to tear into the poor little creatures. It’s the teeth that turn me off:)

  • I tried it yesterday in a small cafe just north of Quito. I didn’t think eating cuy was disgusting until I tasted it. Not something I’ll do again.

  • I’m from NY but my nationality is ecuadorian. i have enjoyed every dish i possibly could and Cuy was one of them. It cant be prepared just by anybody you have to know how to treat it and prep for cooking. Last time I had it was on my 18th birthday. Im 31 mother of three and own 2 guine pigs as pets now, but i dont look at them like dinner. They are part of the family. It just shows different cultures Ecuadorian and American. In the US theyre my loving pets and in Ecuador its a speacial meal.

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