South America's capybara is the world's largest living rodent. The meat of the capybara is reminiscent of pork; it is considered a delicacy, and often served dried, salted, shredded and seasoned alongside rice and plantains.


Other names: Capybara Meat
Translations: Kapibara, Kapibara, Lợn nước, Kapibara, Capivara, Капибара, كابيبارا, Kapybara, Kapibara, 水豚, Carpincho, Kapybara, Capibara, קפיברה, Kapybara, Цапибара, カピバラ, Capybaren, Carpincho, Капібара, Vesisika, Капибара

Physical Description

Adults weigh in anywhere between seventy-five and one hundred forty-five pounds. The animals look like enormous guinea pigs, and their flesh is likened to pork in look and texture.

Colors: reddish-brown fur

Tasting Notes

Flavors: umami, meaty, gamy
Food complements: Black beans
Wine complements: White wines
Substitutes: Beaver, Nutria

Selecting and Buying

Buying: In parts of South America, they are ranched for their meat and pelts, but you won't find capybara in the local supermarket. Look for it on web sites which sell exotic meats.
Procuring: They're native to South America and are not endangered, so can be hunted in the wild. Semi-aquatic animals whose name means "water pig," capybaras are typically found in or about bodies of water.

They are also ranched in certain areas, not only for their meat but for their skins, which have the unique property of stretching in only one direction. Gloves made of Capybara leather are highly prized.

Preparation and Use

Capybara meat makes excellent jerky, and is frequently sold in dried form. This dried meat is often used shredded in recipes like black bean soup.

It is also consumed in sushi. The meat, either raw or slightly steamed, is rinsed in a vinegar and salt mixture and rolled in sticky rice with a seaweed covering just like fish would be.

Raw capybara can be marinated before cooking using the same sort of spices you would for either pork or chicken.

Conserving and Storing

Store it the way you would any other meat. One of the reasons it's so often made into jerky is to extend its safe storage without need of refrigeration. It also keeps well vacuum packed and frozen.


Since they live in wet-lands, the Catholic church, via special dispensation, classified them as "fish" when consuming meat on Fridays was still forbidden by the church.

History: While the animals themselves are not endangered, their habitats are. The practice of capybara ranching is protecting some of that endangered wetland.



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Sid's picture

The Catholic church lives in the wetlands?

Andrew's picture

If that were the implication, then the sentence would read "Since it lives in wetlands, the Catholic church". Thanks for playing though, Captain Pedant-o-fail.