When we were in Peru, we'd heard that the locals frequently ate guinea pig.
Did we want to try it? Of course we did--we're adventurous types! So, our guide told us to pull over to the side of the road, where a little old woman was roasting guinea pigs over an open-air oven, while locals sat at picnic tables and devoured the little rodents.
We all sampled it, though we let our guide have the head, which he insisted was the best part. We each tried a bit of the meat and, you know what? It tasted like chicken.
Obviously, there's a lot more to eat in Peru than guinea pig. In fact, we loved the food, there. It's possible to get Peruvian cuisine in the states, but just in case you're not familiar with it, here's a little glossary, as a handy guide!
Aji Amarillo: spicey yellow Peruvian chili
Cancha: Peruvian roasted corn
Ceviche: fish or other seafood, marinated in lime juice
Aji Panca: red dry Peruvian chili
Chimichurri: a condiment of scallions, garlic, parsley and olive oil
Huancaina: a creamy sauce made of cheese and chiles
Lucuma: a tropical fruit, with flavors of butterscotch and caramel
Manjar Blanco: the Peruvian version of "dulce de leche"
Pisco: a distilled liquor made from grapes
Quinoa: edilble seeds (not a grain) from the Andes
Rocoto: sweet hot pepper
Salsa Criolla: onion, tomatoes, lime and cilantro
Tacu Tacu: a Peruvian beans and rice dish
Some dishes seemed to be on each and every menu, and among my favorites was Lomo Saltado. It's basically a beef stir fry with onions tomatoes and french fries. Like, the french fries are actually in the stir fry, all mixed in. It's delicious.
And, of course, you don't want to go thirsty while you're there. The most famous drink made from pisco is the pisco sour, which is a shaken cocktail with pisco, citrus, sugar and egg white. It's very frothy.
But also, if you have a chance, try chicha--a corn beer brewed by indigenous people. But beware, it's kind of potent! If push comes to shove, you can always fall back on regular beer.
Ready to go to Peru and sample the local food? You'll work up an appetite hiking the Inca Trail or exploring the Amazon basin. Just let us know, and we'll find an amazing vacation for you!