Peru’s Guinea Pig Festival

Peru is famous for its Macchu Pichu ruins, its roaming llamas, and Lake Titikaka and now a Guinea Pig Festival. But pet lovers be warned, if you have a pet guinea pig at home, this is probably not for you. Lets take a look.

To mark the importance of the guinea pig in dishes on the Andean plate, women from various Peruvian communities squared off at the festival in which the rodent was eaten as well as feted as a fashion item in the small coastal town of Huacho near Lima.

The women came with guinea pigs in hand and prepared the animal every which way — boiled, fried and almost always whole, teeth, nails and all.

[Pilar Fox, Chef and Contest judge]:

“The guinea pig has been eaten as food Peru since the time of the Incas, and ever since the guinea pig was domesticated, it has been a principal food source, and it’s really quite good; it’s a meat without grease, but with a lot of proteins”.

The guinea pig has come a long way in recent times, pushing its way onto menus at some world-class restaurants.

Others at the contest preferred to idolise their pets by dressing their animals in tiny outfits, often to match theirs. Rodents that won the road race and fashion competitions were spared the frying pan.

[Carmela Cuna, Rural Attendee]:

“I dressed my guinea pig as if it were a countryside woman who picks alfalfa all day to give out to its babies”.

Unlike larger animals, the guinea pig grows quickly and is relatively inexpensive, making it a staple also in many rural communities in Peru. It is said to taste like a cross between dark chicken meat and rabbit.

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