Yes, your favorite childhood pet is also a favored delicacy in the Andes.
Called “cuy,” (coo-wee) by locals in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, roasted guinea pig has a gamey taste similar to rabbit and is said to improve intelligence and focus if eaten regularly.
In Cuzco, Peru, cuy is roasted like a suckling pig and served with hot peppers. Other regions fry several cuy whole and serve them with a hot pepper or achiote sauce over rice or potatoes.
Cuy is a traditional source of protein in the Andes going back centuries before the arrival of Columbus, when the Incan nobility dined on cuy exclusively and used their entrails to foretell the future.
Now guinea pigs are raised commercially and can be found in markets all over the Andes.
So if you’re ever in South America, and you don’t want to eat your childhood pet’s cousin, stay away from the cuy!