Ever Eat Guinea Pig?

April 2007 — Cuzco, Peru

Part 1 of a two-part series

Cuy -- Tastes like chicken!

Cuy — Tastes like chicken!

VIQ:  How do you find a bar in rural Peru? Look for the green flag flying above the door. (Note: This flag is almost identical to the national flag of Libya – not to be confused! The Peru “I wanna drink” flag is about half the size of Gaddafi’s un-adorned green banner.)

While we’re at it, “bar” is sort of a loose term in Peru. What you’re probably going to get is a small room with a dirt floor with guinea pigs scampering around your feet.  The one we went in had a whole separate room for the little guys. I’d guess about 200+ free-ranging in that one room. When you get hungry, just point at the plumpest one. Roasted over a spit, he’s gonna be good eatin’. And there’s nothing better to accompany your main course of guinea pig than Peru’s national drink. No, not pisco (which is, in fact, Peru’s national drink.) I’m talking about Peru’s “other” national drink: chicha. Chicha is the drink of the people — corn beer, a fermented maize mash which is an unappetizing yellowish-grayish-purple color. It’s frothy at the top. And a little warm. With a tangy after-taste.

Pick out a fatty!

Pick out a fatty!

Most of my tour mates didn’t like it, so I drank their mugs. I’m not a girl who likes to see booze go to waste – even corn mash apparently. Besides, it wasn’t so bad and kinda of refreshing once you got used to it. I guess the Incas drank chicha during rituals and festivals (in vast quantities). They even found chicha mills at Machu Picchu. So this drink of the everyday people, has some royal roots

Tastes better than it looks, sort of

Tastes better than it looks, sort of

This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Chill out with some chicha until part two of this post.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 and is filed under Food & Drink.

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