The Ecuador Chronicles - 2010-38
Cuy - An Ecuadorian Delicacy;
Domesticated - Farm Raised for Food;
Wild - A problem for Farmers
This week we feature a Chronicle by LWE Principal Mathieu Guillory. As usual, Matt has a unique perspective on Ecuador. Here he covers that famous Ecuadorian delicacy - Cuy. If you are uncomfortable thinking of a small animal that many consider a pet as food - stop reading right here.
by Mathieu Charles Guillory
Domesticated Cuy - An Ecuador Delicacy
Every country is known for its local delicacies….Britain - fish and chips; Italy – pasta; France - crepes (not French fries!); Russia – caviar; Ireland – dumplings; USA - Bar B Que; Mexico – tacos; Argentina – beef; Japan – sushi….. and Ecuador - Cuy???
What exactly IS Cuy (pronounced QE)? Well, it all depends on who you ask! Some say it is a guinea pig, others a hamster, and most Ecuadorians……the best thing on earth to eat. But for me….it is a cross between a possum and a rabbit. The taste??? Well….lets just say here at LWE…our true mission statement is to get people to visit us, and hopefully when you come….we will let YOU decide what it tastes like. But food is one of my (and Ray’s as well) favorite topics of conversation and so we decided a little gourmet enticing for our readers would be appropriate. But much like Ecuador itself…it is not for everyone. We had a French Priest visit us once who commented that Cuy was Primitive Food. Let’s face it ….Cuy is not exactly foie groi.
The animal is mostly farm raised now even though before it became “internationally” popular was found roaming the countryside of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. My wife, who is originally from Colombia, loves to eat the little critter since she was herself raised on a farm. Now restaurants all over Ecuador serve them and at the “Las Guabas” in Sangolqui there is a sign out front that says….”over 2 million served”. Two Sundays ago we decided to take a family outing after the “Coup” weekend here in Ecuador, which I am sure many of our readers were “following”. As you can see from the photos….Ecuadorians continued their lives with business was usual and this is a typical Sunday outing for most Ecuadorians. A wild President cannot keep them from their Cuy!
What You See is What you Get
A Popular Local Place
Ready to Serve
Ready to Eat
The Family Out for Lunch
Hunting Wild Cuy (Watusa) - Protecting the Yucca Harvest
This brings us to my next point of discussion - the WILD Cuy. At our farm just two hours from Quito…this version of Cuy is not so Cute. Since our Cuy runs wild and only eats Avocado and Yucca…he loves our farm. This wild Cuy is called Watusa by the locals and is a much bigger, healthier and quite more astute than the domesticated version. And……as our caretaker / shaman Alberto Rojas claims…they are a PLAGUE!. These varmints were everywhere….and so much so that they cleaned out our yucca harvest. Even our dogs became intimate with them! So…since I grew up in South Louisiana I knew exactly how to fix the problem with good old fashioned deer stands - we started hunting them. As you can see…my son Juan Carlos and caretaker / shaman Alberto also get into the act.
Alberto and Me - and Watuza
Juan Carlos - Protecting the Yucca Harvest
Great Gringo Hunter!
I realize that hunting may be becoming more Taboo in the more “developed” countries of the world, but I have never been much of a “politically correct” person anyway. And I can assure you that hunting on private property in Ecuador is a freedom that we cherish. If not….we would not have our yucca to eat. And I must say that my wife Amparo makes an excellent Watusa stew!
Quite frankly…since we get so many visitors in Ecuador from the United Kingdom who are proud of British Cuisine…..we are considering opening up a Cuy restaurant and calling it "The Cuy 2”! So much for primitive food!
Matt - Thank You Again for Your Unique Perspective!
Yes - It took me a couple of seconds (British Friends): "The QE 2"
When Matt first told me he wanted to do a Chronicle on Cuy I will admit I had my doubts. But I think Matt handled this very well - and it is true - we want to give our readers a well rounded view of Ecuador; Cuy is most definitely part of that.
Domesticated Cuy IS a very popular dish amongst Ecuadorians and visitors alike. And Wild Cuy - Watuza - is a real problem in rural areas. They are large, they eat a lot - and destroy crops.
Would You Like to Visit Ecuador and Go on a Watuza Safari - Find Out How at: