Have you ever eaten a guinea pig? If you live in the US, chances are you haven’t, as guinea pig is still a relatively new culinary trend, but it’s possible you’ve had one as a pet. However, in Peru and Colombia guinea pig is a longtime popular delicacy, a trend that is growing worldwide.
Known as, “cuy” this delicacy is typically grilled or deep fried, and served spread down the middle, much in the manner of a lobster. Proponents of this dish are describing it as a moist, tender meat that shockingly, does not bear any resemblance to chicken, but stands alone. Add to its praises the novelty of this item, and cultural exchange, and it seems like guinea pig has the potential to become a popular dish in more places than its South American home.
However, what one doesn’t consider when guinea pig is put on a table before them, are the economic benefits that this animal could provide. Nature conservationists are making a case for guinea pig as a replacement for the costly and eco un-friendly beef. Because guinea pigs are small, they don’t require much land to be cleared thereby lowering the amount of erosion and water pollution. Guinea pigs also require half of the amount of feed cattle require in order to produce the same amount of meat. Guinea pigs are relatively easy to raise, requiring little supervision and accommodations as simple as one’s own backyard.
It sounds promising, right? We can greatly reduce our carbon footprint while eating a delicious meat delicacy. It’s certainly a thought, however the prospect of guinea pigs becoming mainstream in America is unlikely for cultural reasons. As I previously mentioned, many people keep guinea pigs as pets, which is sure to deter many people with an emotional attachment to the animals. Additionally, America is known for its large hearty portions, and steak houses abound. In the South, where ranching is prominent, many champion the beasts that produce beef, while conservatives typically lack a certain regard for environmental reform, etc, etc.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you think guinea pig can become popular in the US? Do you think it can replace beef? For those of you who have tried guinea pig, what does it taste like? Did you like it?