A Canadian Family Traveling & Living Abroad (in Ecuador)


Forget Burgers – Lets Go Out for Cuy and Pork

Shortly after your arrival in Cuenca, you’ll realize that there are some pretty unique things here.

Roasted Cuy

Fresh Cuy

For example, you may wonder what the small chicken-sized animal is – on a stick – roasting over a grill. It is known locally as “cuy”. It is what we know as guinea pig, and it is the local delicacy. It is eaten on special occasions, and is one of the pricier meals here.

Loved by some, and held in disdain by others, the cuy is roasted whole over an open grill. The cuy industry here is quite large, and in the surrounding countryside, you’ll see large fields of alfalfa – the food of choice for cuy farms. At the open markets, you can purchase them live, cleaned or roasted. Your choice.

Fresh Cooked Pork

Roast Pig and Cuy

Another unique feature here in Cuenca, is the roasted pig – you’ve probably never seen pork like this before. A stroll down a main road will provide many opportunities to sample the numerous ways to cook pork.

First, the whole pork is torched (with a blowtorch), to burn off the hair, and roast the skin. Then the body is scraped, to remove the layer of black ash. Then it is rubbed in butter, to give an amazing aroma.

Then, throughout the day, the pig is slowly butchered and cooked for passersby. It is deep fried (in pork fat, no less), pan fried, grilled and cooked in just about any other way you can imagine.

You will want to get some advice from locals about safe places to try this – not all street food is safe. However, after boiling in hot oil for a few hours, one could imagine that any bacteria that were present should be long dead.

An article by

Bryan is a journalist, photographer, expat and dad. He writes for Gringos Abroad (Ecuador travel and living) and Blogger Abroad (run an online business abroad). He also enjoys living in Southern Ecuador (South America) with his wife and daughter. Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn.

More about: Cuenca Ecuador, Living in Ecuador

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About Bryan & Dena Haines

We are a Canadian family of 3 living in Ecuador since 2009. If this is your first visit, start here. We blog about life and travel in Ecuador. Interested to work with us? Read more about Bryan & Dena

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