05/17/17 9:49am

Great Balls of Plantain: El Pequeño’s Bolon Rocks

Call it mini mofongo if you must.

I want to like mofongo I really do, but all too often the mashup of plantains and fried pork is drier than a Brit’s sense of humor. Sometimes I do like it, but it’s always a real gut buster. All of which leaves me quite glad to have tried Ecuadorean miniature mofongo the other day. Of course in Quito and on Roosevelt Avenue they don’t call it “miniature mofongo” but rather “bolon mixto.”

Behold the bolon, greater than the sum of it parts.

True to its name the snack, which can be had at El Pequeño Coffee Shop, is indeed a bolon, or ball, a golden brown fried orb about the size of a handball. It comes with a punchy pickled tomato and onion relish that calls to mind ceviche. It’s crunchy, flavorful, and truly more than the sum of its parts, which are mashed green plaintain, hardboiled eggs, cheese, and pork ribs.

“Does this have crab or sweet potato in it?” I asked the waitress. “No just cheese, egg, and pork,” she responded. “And magic,” I thought to myself because I could swear there were other ingredients in the $5.50 snack. I can’t wait to go back and try the deluxe $9 version. Known as a Bolon Mañanero, it’s packed with scrambled eggs, cheese, and chicharron.

El Pequeño Coffee Shop, 86-10 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, (718) 205-7128

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