Life is short but the list of possible food options is very long. Food is an integrated part of any culture and it is not possible to know a culture without delving into their delicacies. So all you food fanatics out there — next time while responding to your wanderlust, don’t forget to experiment with the unique local cuisines of the place. And when it comes to unique delicacies, South American countries will never fail to surprise you. It will open up a whole range of unusual delights that will tickle your taste buds to the core. Just be prepared, not all food might suit your tongue. And at times, they look of them might not suit your gut — but hang on. There’s nothing wrong in experimenting, and who knows, you might just end up loving the dish!
- Guinea Pig
Furry little critters that people love to keep as pets. Not here in Peru. Guinea Pigs are considered a delectable food item, locally known as ‘cuy’. It is a traditional staple food in Peru’s Andean table fare and certainly not for the faint-hearted as it is served whole with head and feet intact. Peruvian people raise guinea pigs in their homes but these are never considered pets — it’s similar to raising chickens. Served grilled or fried, cuy is a delicacy for special occasions — though tourists can have it throughout the year. The meat is said to be tender and tastes like rabbit meat or wild fowl.
- Giant Ants
A cheap and available source of protein — that’s what giant ants are to the Colombians! Considered a delicacy in many countries, these insects have found their destiny in the popular snacks chart of Columbia. The ants are fried and garnished with all sorts of seasonings including chili pepper and sea salt. You will feel the crunch as you take a mouthful of these. Taste-testers tell us they aren’t bad! In fact fried giant ants are a popular delicacy that is savored like cocktail peanuts by the Colombian food connoisseurs.
- Cow Heart
If it is meat, it is edible — the people of Chile and Bolivia seem to have taken this maxim to heart. As you stroll along the streets of Chile and Bolivia, you’ll find hundreds of street vendors selling “anticuchos de Corazon.” Marinated with vinegar, garlic, onion and spices, these delicacies come on a skewer with a piece of boiled potato tucked at the end. Made from a very traditional recipe that dates back to 16th century, anticuchos de Corazon are basically the meat of beef heart cooked on the barbecue. An immensely popular snack in the Andean countries, anticuchos taste like beef meat but on a bit slippery and chewy side.
The name refers to expensive wool used to make warm and stylish garments. Also to the people from the Andes region, alpaca denotes a sumptuous dish that is easy to procure and high in protein. It’s a lean and low-fat meat that is heart-healthy and a good alternative to beef. In Andean region, alpaca and llama have been a staple source of meat for many centuries. The meat tastes like buffalo and other cattle meat, although the flavor is a bit stronger than beef and very lean. Don’t forget to try Cazuela de Llama — or llama casserole — if you ever happen to visit this region, especially northern Argentina.
- Coca Leaves
Chewing on some innocuous leaves may not sound bad compared to eating whole guinea pigs, but you might still wish to avoid it once you come to know the truth. Well, here it is — Coca leaves are related not to cocoa, but to cocaine. Chewing coca leaves is an ancient tradition among the indigenous people of Andean region which dates back to Incan times. The method is to keep a saliva-soaked ball of coca leaves in mouth. It acts as a mild stimulant and is said to reduce hunger, thirst, fatigue and pain. People also claim that it improves digestion and blood circulation. While there’s no scientific basis to establish these claims, the best part is coca leaves are not addictive and perfectly harmless.
Well, these are not particularly appetizing at the first glance. Keep this warning in mind before you set out to order them: for the uninitiated, Locos are edible sea snails available in the coasts of Chile. Also known as Chilean Abalone, Locos are a special dish in this part of Latin America, though catching them is now being highly regulated. The popular Chilean cuisine involves cooking the snail with dollops of mayonnaise and serving it at room temperature garnished with lettuce and tomatoes. Don’t be fooled by their looks as the texture is astonishingly crunchy and firm — you might end up using a steak knife. The taste is mild, much like scallops.
- Sweet Blood Sausages
This dish with a spine-chilling name is a well-known local specialty of Uruguay. Also known as morcilla, these are indeed blood sausages made of pork blood and a high proportion of oatmeal, sweetened by sugar, raisins and ground nutmeg. The sausage might also contain almonds and other aromatic spices like star anise and cinnamon. Grilled over an open fire, the sugar caramelizes on the sausages. It is combined with raisins and nutmeg which makes the sausages as sweet as a dessert. So next time you are in Uruguay, hold on to your courage and bite into a piece of morcilla. The taste might as well surprise you to the core!
- Bull Penis Soup
That’s right. This is known as Bolivia’s national hangover cure. Bull’s penis and testicles are the main ingredients of the soup seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices. As a bowl of piping hot soup appears before you, it is hard not to notice the genitals which might make actually tasting it a bit more difficult. But if you can muster some courage, go dive into it. The meat might be slightly chewy and tough but according to local belief, it is loaded with medicinal properties and can suppress fatigue, anaemia and hangovers. And if you are looking for some mojo, it’s for you, as locals consider it as an aphrodisiac.
Originally posted 2017-05-17 14:44:44.