Cusco has plenty of lovely little restaurants that serve a variety of Peruvian food. One of the specialities in Peru, or more generally the entire Andean region, is ‘Cuy’, guinea pig. Yes, you read correctly, guinea pig! Whilst it is not common to eat guinea pig in the West, it has been part of the Andean diet for thousands of years. Yes, not a thought we are used to, after all guinea pigs are our cute little furry pets, right?
So if you are in Peru and would like to try Cuy, make sure you have done your research as not every restaurant serves Cuy. Also read reviews before you go to a restaurant as Cuy is a specialty and needs to be prepared correctly. A restaurant that was recommended to us in Cusco is KusiKuy which is famous for their Cuy. The prices are a bit higher than at the usual places you come across while travelling in Peru but the food and their Pisco Sour are worth it.
KusiKuy is located a 10 min walk away from the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. It’s a pretty walk so no need to take a taxi for this. The taxi can’t help you with the last bit anyway..
So, once you have walked up these stairs – keep in mind Cusco is 3,400 m above sea level – you have deserved a Pisco Sour!
The interior of KusiKuy is characterised by a contemporary design that is integrated in a rustic and cosy setting. A lovely mix of modern and traditional. They offer a variety of Peruvian dishes, so even if you don’t want to try their Cuy, you will not have to leave this place hungry. The preparation of the Cuy takes a bit of time, so don’t come here in a hurry. Instead order a starter and a Pisco Sour and relax.
The Cuy will first be brought to you as a ‘whole’, ‘para tomar fotos’ (to take photos) if you like. Then the Cuy will be prepared and served again, this time ready to eat. What first looked like a huge portion of food, suddenly looks a lot smaller and you will most likely be able to finish one by yourself.
The taste of Cuy is relatively similar to chicken or rabbit but the texture of the meat is different and a bit more ‘elastic’. I have tried Cuy now a few times but the one at KusiKuy was one of the best. Once I ordered Cuy (many years ago) at one of these typical ‘cheaper’ restaurants where mostly only locals eat and it wasn’t very good, edible, but not yummy at all. So do your research before you go :)