Scoping out the condiments, and figuring what goes best with what, is essential to enjoying restaurants off the beaten path. At this Filipino spot the task was straightforward. English is readily spoken (though except in my immediate presence, Tagalog was the language of choice), and though the tabletop caddies are provisioned with salt, pepper, fish sauce, and vinegar, my meal was accompanied by a condiment of its own.
Garlic rice shared pride of place in a lechon kawali dinner ($6.95), side by side with the namesake deep-fried pork belly. Behind them were two eggs over easy; atsara, or pickled green papaya; and, tucked in one back corner, a deceptively unassuming dish of thick brown sauce. It goes by the pedestrian name of "lechon sauce," and commercial varieties are common, but like most everything at New Little Quiapo (key-Ah-poh) this condiment is made from scratch. With an assist from a pinch of black pepper, it's amazing what the right chef can come up with by combining liver and brown sugar.
In addition to short orders, the restaurant offers a small "turo-turo" steam table from which you "point-point" to your selections. Previously, my two with white rice (lately, $4.95) were bopis, minced pork heart in a mild reddish sauce, and the rich, slightly spicy, dark brown pig's blood stew called dinuguan. New Little Quiapo also dishes out many servings of halo-halo, the Filipino shaved ice of many colors and textures; note the depiction of the dessert glass at the center of the awning.
The New Little Quiapo Restaurant
530-C Newark Ave. (Baldwin Ave.-McPherson Pl., toward the back of a little parking lot), Jersey City