Weird Food: Eating Cuy (Guinea Pig) in Quito, Ecuador

On a Friday afternoon after Spanish class, Carrie and I paid $5 to take part in a tradition that is one of the 5 things you must do while in Ecuador.

These pictures are from the tradition of eating cuy, or guinea pig.

WARNING:This post contains some pretty graphic pictures of dead and cooking animals that still look like guinea pigs.

If you’re okay with that, continue on.
Cuy on a plate

I’ve got a video of this experience as well, so be sure to check that out below. Before the video though, here are a few of the pictures from us cooking and eating cuy.
Cuy on a grill


Me with Cuy on a grill

Contrary to the smile on my face, I’m mildly disgusted by this experience, but hey, I’ll only eat cuy once, and as long as I’m here for the experience, I may as well enjoy it, right?

Cuy for Carrie?

Carrie is pretty much vegetarian (whenever it’s an available option), so I was proud of her for trying a tiny piece of cuy, but I was a brave little toaster and tried more than that of it.

And how does cuy taste? A little like chicken, but more like a greasy and chewy meat…

The greasiness may have come from the oil marinade they used on them. Even taking that into account, cuy wasn’t my favorite meal.

Cuy on a grill with tongue hanging out
Alex, who is from England and was sitting next to me, kept trying all the other stuff (by other stuff I mean brain, eye, and ear), and so I did as well…

It wasn’t about one-upmanship as much as the feeling of wanting to have the full cuy experience, so long as I was at it.

How the cuy feels about the whole thingThe indigenous people in Ecuador eat cuy more than the more Spanish influenced population…

But I think most people here eat cuy maybe once or twice a year… Something akin to eating the fruit cake (even if you don’t like it, because) someone made for you.

Some people really like cuy, and a few probably eat it because they can find it for free in the wild.
But it seems that most people just eat cuy because it’s what everyone does during certain times of the year or at certain holidays.

This is a meal and experience I am glad to have done once, and am not too likely to repeat…
Cuy makes you go to the vomitorium
(Random graffiti we coincidentally encountered about 2 hours after finishing our cuy)

Though the cuy wasn’t my favorite, I really enjoyed making this video (below) so I hope you enjoy watching it!

Would love any thoughts/feedback on my video or anything else about our cuy experience in Quito!

7 thoughts on “Weird Food: Eating Cuy (Guinea Pig) in Quito, Ecuador

  1. Galen Darrough

    Be sure to send me some cuy jerky upon your return. I might have mentioned that the only thing I really didn’t like to eat in Central America was menudo or mondongo as it was also called. Never. It always reminded me of the smell of an outhouse. Even the fish head soup in Nicaragua and brain sandwiches were better.
    I’m enjoying seeing you guys, and hope your Spanish is improving day by day.
    Galen D.

  2. Cheryl

    Jonathan, Jonathan.
    All I could see was Madison’s poor pet guinea pig, Peanut, (may he rest in peace) as I watched this video.

    1. carrie

      Oh NO! I didn’t know about Peanut…poor guy. Sorry to hear about it. (And to be honest, he was all I could think about that day too!)

  3. Liv

    A vomitorium is a passage or entranceway to a theatre… and cuy is avaialble in some markets and restaurants here in the NYC area. Not bad, but not much meat. Had some in Peru, where they consume 65 million a year. Typical country homes I visited have them running around the kitchen like chickens in other places.

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