Friday, July 13, 2007

Señor Cuy

Susana, Willy, Nico, and Toya

Today we had the much-awaited opportunity to lunch at Señor Cuy, the restaurant started by Willy and Toya, my dad's brother and sister.

The restaurant is small and intimate, with a décor that was kept nicely simple, giving the space an open feel, yet managing to keep it cozy and warm. A really nice touch are the reproductions of Colonial era paintings of the Last Supper, done by Indian artists, depicting Jesus and the Apostles dining on guinea pigs. In the picture you can see one there, on a platter in front of Jesus, who being the guest of honor would of course get the best food.

My mom ordered the Ayacucho-style preparation, in which the guinea pig is boiled with aromatic herbs and then fried with a crust of crushed toasted corn kernels. It was served with potatoes and an onion relish.

I figured I'd save Ayacucho-style guinea pig for when I will actually be in Ayacucho, and ordered half a guinea pig Huancayo-style - the front half, so I'd get the head. My dad ordered the same, but only one-quarter of a guinea pig, as he had ordered some qapchi as a starter. Qapchi is an Ayacuchano dish made by mashing fresh cheese with herbs and ají (what chile peppers are called here).

Huancayo is a city in the central Andean department of Junín, and their cuy preparation is very similar to an Ayacuchano dish called puka picante. "Puka" means 'red' in Quechua, and "picante" is 'spicy' in Spanish. The guinea pig was fried and served bathed in a piquant peanut sauce flavored with ají and colored red with ají colorado. The meat was the tenderest cuy flesh I have ever tasted, while the skin and bones were pleasantly crunchy. Simply, awesome.

I washed it down with a glass of chicha de jora - native corn beer- which was a rare treat for me.

Nicolas ordered the "Mister Cuy", which is cooked broaster-style and accompanied by french-fried yellow potatoes and a green salad. Nico just tore that sucker up - except for the vegetables.

Susana, being too tender-hearted to try guinea pig, opted for a chicken milanesa, which came with potatoes and salad as well. She was particularly glad for the salad, for not only the guinea pigs used at Señor Cuy raised organically, but the lettuce used is grown hydroponically, and could thus be eaten without worry.

We finished off lunch with desserts. Nico and Susana had a mousse de algarrobina, which they both really liked.

I opted for a traditional confection made from pumpkin. It was really sweet -almost too sweet for my tooth, as most old-style Peruvian desserts tend to be- but tasty.

OK, I know I am biased, but the food was excellent. Easily the best guinea pig I have eaten.

Señor Cuy
Av. Andrés Reyes Nº 144
San Isidro, Lima


Anonymous said...

Gawd bless America, where guinea pigs are the pets they're supposed to be! (You eat the friggin' bones?!)

Fra. Miguel

Juancho said...

Yes. If it's cooked right, the ribs can be nicely crunchy, like a very overcooked shoestring potato.

Anonymous said...

And the other bones?