To cuy or not to cuy….THAT is the question…
If you are a food adventurer think RODENT. Think too of that cute pet you had when you were 10 or so, ever eager to run on its treadmill for obvious jolly injection. And picture it on your plate—because if you are an adherent to the rubric When in Rome, do as the Romans do, cuy (guinea pig) is your number one priority to feast upon.
Cuy is THE classic Peruvian dish. If Peruvian restaurants we have sampled in Chicago, San Francisco or Washington D.C. are indicative, it’s a staple of Peruano cuisine that never makes it to a US-Peruvian restaurant menu.
When polled, every Peruvian we asked commented along the lines of “Cuy—muy rico!”
When polled, every non-Peruvian who tried it clarified that NO, it doesn’t taste like chicken and NO, they don’t have a desire to eat it again.
According to our tour guide in the Cuzco Cathedral, the subversive Andean spirit replaced a leg of lamb in a Last Supper painting with a guinea pig. Look too to the modern day Coca-Cola sign, and you see that the happy-faced Coca-Cola icon is serving you- what else? – guinea pig!
If you feel a need to check this off your been-there-done-that food adventurers list, make a note that La Palomino Restaurant in Arequipa is a top pick venue. Not ony will you be able to click it off your list, but your more squeamish dinner companions, like this writer, will find other picanteria staples on the menu that are key to defining the genre.
La Palomino - recommendation of locals
Taking a tip from a friendly taxi driver who drove us into town from the bus station, we headed to La Palomino in a bit outside of town. It was near closing time, and few things on the menu were left. Cuy and a wonderful shrimp soup were served, along with big Peruvian cowboy type hats and offers to take pictures of you wearing them. All served with such good cheer, it was easy to fall in love with La Palomino in specific and picanteria food in general.
Later in our Arequipa tour when we met other Peruvian locals it came as no surprise that they too suggested La Palomino as a top pick.
Leoncio Prado 122 - Yanahuara
Daily except Tuesdays: 12:00 – 5:00 PM
For more information contact La Palomina in Arequipa at +054252393