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Frog Juice: Food Updates from South America

Sunset above Arequipa

Sunset above Arequipa

Rolling along with the food blog theme (considering food is one of the things we're enjoying most in South America), I wanted to share some of the weirder foods we've gotten to taste down here.

Cuy: I tried Guinea pig, which is a famous Peruvian dish but is available basically everywhere, in Pucara, Ecuador, where my homestay mother slaughtered one of her own guinea pigs to eat for dinner. Despite the strangeness of actually having to rip the meet off part of the skeleton with my hands, it was pretty good. Just have to avoid thinking of an actual guinea pig while you're eating it.

Chicken: At first glance, this would seem like the one food that couldn't be weird. Chicken is for people who don't like any other food. My homestay mother in Pucara, Magdalena, was nice enough to make me chicken after asking which kinds of meat I could eat on the first day. I assured her that I could eat everything, I had no dietary restrictions and would try everything, etc. So when she handed me a bowl of soup with two fresh chicken feet in it, I held back the initial shock and tried to eat them. I really did. But when Magdalena saw I was virtually gagging trying to eat around the toes, she offered me another piece of meat. I graciously accepted and began eating.

It was a chicken head. I realized this when I was done eating and was looking at the skull with eyes still in tact. That's how chicken becomes weird food.

Avocado Ice Cream: This credit actually goes to Gabriela, who ordered it when we were in Cuicocha right outside of Otavalo. I tried a bite, and it's basically just really creamy avocado. Weird, but a good way to eat ice cream without hating yourself.

Last but not least, Jugo de Rana: That means frog juice.

We all tried a bit at the market in Arequipa, though I could only manage a few sips. The ingredients are a live frog that is then skinned and boiled, honey, molasses, maca (a Peruvian grain) and some sort of broth that are all then blended together and strained for any chunks.

Getting over the initial disgust of drinking something you saw living 2 minutes before, it tastes like a bunch of sugar flavoring over what you'd expect a raw frog to taste like. Gabriela liked it, I definitely did not. The other tourists we gave a few sips to had mixed reviews as well.

Those have been our food adventures thus far, but we still have a month left to see what else is being sold.

Bonus: We saw a stand of frog skeletons and cows' heads to be cooked in soup. Bon appetit!