Peruvian Culture

Peruvian Food No. 3

Guinea pig! – tonight we sampled that lovely childhood pet, the guinea pig. All the restaurants around the main square of Cusco serve some variety of guinea pig (cuy in Spanish) but we opted for a roast guinea pig, which they said would serve two. 15 minutes after ordering said roast guinea pig appeared in front of us, cooked whole – you could see its little ears and rather sharp looking teeth. Having had two pet guinea pigs at home myself it was a bizarre experience to tuck in, also because it tasted like nothing I’d ever eaten before. There wasn’t actually an enormous amount of meat on the body, but it had a texture like chicken and a flavour…well…sort of gamey? Hard to compare it to anything else because it was such an unusual flavour. The waiter told us that you could eat everything but I decided to give the brain and cheeks a miss, but Alex tucked into those and said that the cheeks especially were good because they were very tender. So there you have it, roast guinea pig!

Peruvian Food No. 2

Chifa – around 200 years ago lots of Chinese workers moved to Peru, which means there is a very strong established Chinese community in almost every city. As a result, Peru has amazing Chinese food – completely unexpected, but we’ve certainly been taking advantage of it – on most restaurant streets you’re guaranteed to find a little Chifa restaurant. It’s a little strange because the community has been here so long they no longer speak Mandarin, only fluent Spanish, and I’m not sure I’ve come across this combination of cultures before…

Peruvian Transport

Peru has one train line, a 12 hour line between Cuzco and Puno. It only has one class – first class – it costs over $300, and serves, among other meals, ‘High Tea’. As you can imagine, this makes it pretty much the reserve of rich American tourists…

So, we realised pretty early on that we would be getting buses around the country, but unfortunately slightly underestimated the distances involved – we had a pretty grim 4 days last week with an 8 hour bus journey every day. Many tourists fly between towns but alas, our purses don’t stretch that far! (more…)

Peruvian Food No. 1

Here are two interesting foods that we have tried in Peru which I have never seen back home:

Cerviche – pieces of raw white fish marinated in lime juice. Sounds kind of gross but is actually really tasty – though I couldn’t eat a whole plate of it on my own, and if you don’t like sushi with raw fish, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Alpaca steak – tastes a bit like beef steak but more tender and more flavoursome, wish we had this at home!

Have yet to try guinea pig, but will keep you posted…