06/21/13 10:02am

Los Paisanos: Tenemos Cuy in Jackson Heights

The Andean delicacy cuy is one of the shop's many items from South and Central America.

Cuy is one of the shop’s many items from South and Central America.

Earlier this week I took my pal Don Magee and his buddy on a multicultural tour of Roosevelt Avenue. The plan was to start out at Tortas Neza and work our way through South and Central America to Tibet. When I got to 111th and Roosevelt my fellow fearless fressers were there but the Tortas Neza truck was nowhere in sight. To make up for it, I added in a visit to Los Paisanos.  I had forgotten how amazing the Jackson Heights market devoted to products from the various “paisas” in Latin America is. Mexican hot chocolate, Peruvian hot peppers, and many, many other things are featured in the display window.  Most intriguing of all was a hand-written pink sign that read, “TENEMOS CUY.”

Thanks to a Serious Eats New York post I wrote about eating the Andean delicacy cuy—a special breed of guinea pig—I have become something of an expert on the subject. In fact I have participated in three video shoots involving cuy. The most recent was with Lauren Rothman (@Lochina186), a CUNY journalism student and fellow cuy enthusiast. The question  most asked of Elvira Pagguay, cuy roaster extraordinaire, “Is cuy legal in the United States?” Elvira’s usual response: “I got it in the store.” I’ve never seen it in a shop though, so I was pretty excited when I saw the sign in the window of Los Paisanos.

This is a job for Super Cuy!

This is a job for Super Cuy!

We walked around the store ogling the spices, condiments, candies, and cooking utensils and forgot all about the cuy. Moments after we left it dawned on me and we went back in headed for the cold case in the back. It was empty, so we asked a stock boy. He directed us to a windowed freezer case right by the cash register, the type usually filled with ice cream. And there it was next to the ice cream, cuy. And not just any cuy, but Super Cuy. I have a half a mind to call Elvira and ask her for recipe.

Los Paisanos, 79-16 Roosevelt Ave, 718-898-4141

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