Chef Kriza Palmero of Pilya's Kitchen: Seeing customers enjoy the food I make means the world to me.
Chinese food is a cuisine a lot of Filipinos will say they are familiar with but China has a lot of regional dishes that may not be as mainstream as dimsum and fried rice, but are still worth exploring. One of them is biang biang noodles or broad, hand-pulled wheat noodles that get their name from the sound they make when smashed against a wooden board while being pulled (biang!).
For the best of this piquant, aromatic noodles, head to Pilya's Kitchen at Stall 11 of The Grid Food Market. There you'll find The Grid's resident noodle girl, Chef Kriza Palmero, formerly of Very Fresh Noodles in New York's Chelsea Market, hand-pulling the thick, chewy noodles for your biang biang fix.
We talk to the chef about what she misses from New York, her favorite Chinese dish, and what she loves most about opening shop at The Grid.
The Grid Food Market (TGFM): How did you learn to make hand-pulled biang biang noodles?
Chef Kriza Palmero (KP): I learned how to make biang biang noodles when I worked at VFN, Chelsea Market NYC. I had a lot of practice since we were always crazy busy and there were days when I would pull about 300-500 noodles per day.
TGFM: What’s the food you miss the most from New York?
KP: Bodega food—bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and bagels with cream cheese! I can’t tell you how much I love breakfast sandwiches and I’ve had the best ones in NYC. Also, I really miss Jamaican and Colombian food that my friends used to cook for me.
TGFM: What’s been your favorite part of working at The Grid?
KP: I think it will be meeting chefs and restaurateurs who are as passionate and driven to make people happy through food. Also, I was able to meet a lot of my previous customers when I just started selling noodz online and seeing them enjoy the food I make means the world to me.
TGFM: Aside from biang biang noodles, what’s your favorite underrated Chinese food?
KP: Cheung fun [or] “steamed rice noodle rolls”. The texture is so great and you can have it filled with shrimp, beef mince, etc. I like it with black vinegar dipping sauce. Black vinegar is an underrated chinese ingredient that should be a staple like apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar etc.
TGFM: What did you cook for the first time in 2021?
KP: Jamaican food! Caribbean food is another cuisine that’s near and dear to my heart. It can be heavy but it is super comforting. I made Jamaican oxtail stew with dumplings (just flour and water), rice and peas that is cooked in coconut milk, thyme, peppers with a bunch of aromatics.