Guinea Pigs Roasting on the Fire (Brayan Coraza Morveli)
Cuy, also called guinea pig, is an animal traditionally found in the Peruvian Andes. It makes its way into various traditional dishes, each of which has amazing and distinctive flavors that captivate all who taste it. There are many ways of preparing it, such as cuy al horno (baked cuy), cuy chactado (fried cuy), and cuy al palo (cuy on a stick), among others.
There are many different places within the city of Cusco where you can enjoy dishes with cuy and there are also towns nearby that specialize in its preparation, such as Tipón, Poroy, Lamay, and others. They are specialists in raising and cooking cuys.
Some 45 kilometers and 45 minutes of travel away from the city of Cusco to the north is found the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is a very special place because of its temperate climate and throughout the valley food is abundant. The town of Lamay is known for its cuy al palo and you can see this just by passing through.
All along the highway you will see many ovens, with coals blazing, and in them you will see the cuys on a stick. The people are very friendly to visitors and they show the cuys on a stick in order to attract attention and so that people might enjoy this delicious cuy al palo. You can also see how the skin of the guinea pig becomes crispy in contact with the oven’s heat and it makes you want to eat one whole.
In this place they season the cuys with huacatay, an herb that when it combines with the salt gives an amazing flavor to the flesh.
If cuy is not your thing, you can also enjoy other dishes here, such as pig on a stick, baked chicken, trout, and more. The cuy al palo comes with a serving of noodles, boiled potatoes, and a stuffed rocoto. Of course there must also be found on the table the hot pepper sauce, the uchucuta.
It is worth traversing the distance between Cusco and Lamay because of the beauty of the landscape which you can enjoy from various overlooks, as well as because of the purity of the air and the marvelous vegetation, but the best is to enjoy a cuy al palo while there, especially with your family.