These rodents require little space and happily hoof up vegetable scraps, factors that make them ideal to farm. Gourmet cuy, however, are fed an exclusively alfalfa diet to ensure the meat is as tender as possible.
Two popular dishes are cuy chactado, a dish native to Arequipa which is squashed under stones then fried; and cuy al palo, where it's roasted over a spit. A wave of Lima's avant garde chefs are going gourmet with the ingredient, using cuy in Nikkei dishes instead of smoked fish, or smoothed out as terrine in tasting menus. There are also “cuyerías”, restaurants specializing in guinea-pig, found in the Arequipa and Cusco regions. As for the taste, it's sort of like a cross between rabbit and chicken.