If you’re traveling to South America, you’re in for a treat: the local food is delicious. But while you might have heard of Peruvian ceviche (raw marinated seafood) or the famous Argentinean steak, some countries and regions in South America boast unusual menus. Here’s what weird South American food you should try.
Roasted Guinea Pig, Ecuador and Peru
In the Andes, local people have been raising guinea pigs for food for centuries. In the high altitude among the tall peaks, cattle are hard to raise, whereas guinea pigs require little space and food but make for delicious dinner. Typically, guinea pigs are most popular in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes. Recipes vary from region to region, but the most popular way to prepare guinea pigs seems to be roasting.
To me, roasted guinea pig tastes a lot like a rabbit. If you can’t stomach the look of the tiny hands and feet, ask your guinea pig to be chopped up, or have guinea pig stew.
2. Big-butted Ants, Colombia
Eating bugs is no new trend: after all, most of us eat shrimp and lobster which are, in essence, big sea roaches. When it comes to South American food, bugs are a menu staple in many of the Amazonian regions where eating termites and certain larvae is part of everyday diet. In Colombia, you may see giant fried ants for sale – and you should try them. According to locals, hormigas culonas (big0butted ants) are especially nutritious.
3. Beef Hearts, Peru
Street food is extremely popular in Peru, and you’ll see anticuchos, skewered grilled meat, in every city or town. Usually, it comes with a boiled potato or a grilled corn cob on the side. Grilled beef hearts (anticucho de corazon) is a local specialty: grilled cut up pieces of beef hearts are served on a skewer with a little aji sauce (hot pepper sauce). The texture is a little softer and chewier than regular beef cuts. If you can’t stomach the beef heart, you can have pork or chicken -it’s delicious!