Earlier this year I found myself not far from the Colombian border town of Ipiales at what I was told by my Colombian hosts was the ‘cuy’ (guinea pig) mecca. Although Colombia is not famous for cooking this fluffy rodent there is a large number of cuy specialist in this southermost area. I had actually eaten cuy once before at a fancy restaurant in Peru. It was cut into delicate pieces and was no more confronting then any other dining experience. This was an entirely different exercise. I was tentative on entering the small family run restaurant especially considering the whole guinea pigs roasting out, front claws and all. Well, I was in for an experience to say the least. Here is some advice if you find yourself in the same situation.
1. DO NOT except the free kitchen tour. Trust me, you do not want to see these cute and cuddly creatures reaching their untimely end. I did and needless to say it was not a wise choice.
2. DO order a beer. This is a very important part of the process, preferably drink a number before beginning the meal.
3. DO NOT take a seat near the kitchen. The squeels are disturbing (especially if you did not take heed of number one and can picture exactly what is happening).
4. DO try to laugh at the situation and the disturbed look on your face as much as every one else in the restaurant is doing, loudly.
5. DO use your hands, you don’t want to look like more of a tourist than you already do.
5. DO NOT accept the title of guest of honour. This will only entitle you to the ‘best’ part of the cuy, the head.
6. DO try to forget what it is that your actually eating and enjoy the surprisingly delicious barbequed taste.