Don't be coy about eating cuy

Until recently the strangest thing I had ever eaten was Hákarl in Iceland. It is fermented shark meat which is prepared by burying it underground for 6-12 weeks until it decays sufficiently to acquire an ammonium-rich, sinus-cleansing taste.

But while I was in Cusco I went to nearby Tipon to eat cuy ("guinea pig"). Apparently Tipon has the best - and cheapest - cuy in town.

[Above] CUY AL HORNO, i.e. guinea pig prepared in the oven. It wasn't the best tasting meat I've had but it's not horrible . There's not very much meat on the bones and it tastes a little fatty. The best part was the crispy skin. I guess guniea pig is the equivalent if pigeon to bird cuisine.

[Below] Guinea Pigs are usually cute animals, though they don't look so adorable once they've been cooked in a clay oven and had their skin and meat chewed off them.

[Below] My host, Willi, asked me to bring back the head for him. I thought he wanted to eat the brains - as I heard it's one of the most delicious parts. Instead he sawed the head in half to reveal the figure of a condor - a proud icon of Peru. Maybe just ignore the little extension of spinal cord hanging off the bottom.

[Below] In case there's any confusion, this is what I was eating:

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