Bowled Over

Exemplary bibimbap in a most unlikely place

Ikea can keep its Swedish meatballs, and Costco its hot dogs.

Because as far as department-store food goes, Daly City's Kukje Supermarket reigns supreme.

The Kukje Deli & Sushi, hidden within this Korean grocery store, is unassuming, to say the least. From a seat at the Formica tables, you can see salt- and noodle-stocked aisles along with the store's housewares section (where, if so inclined, you can buy a dedicated kimchi refrigerator, intended for mass-scale home fermentation).

Starting with an order of spicy, fried chicken wings ($10) wouldn't hurt. But the reason to eat here is the beef bibimbap ($13). As with all good versions, its arrival is precipitated by a cloud of steam, the wet heat withering the feathery sheets of nori garnishing the top.

Break the egg yolk, mix it in, and enjoy the harmonious mélange of pickled mushrooms, bean sprouts, shredded carrots and pieces of boneless, grilled beef. Dig deep to release chunks of crispy rice from the stone bowl, and anoint the savory mess with red-chili sauce.

For dessert, venture into the grocery store, where the sweets aisle stocks Korean cookies of every description, and a full-service bakery sells fried twists of dough aptly named "Korean churros."

Kukje Deli & Sushi, 2350 Junipero Serra Blvd., Daly City; 650-992-0333