Why go in winter: Warm up―and soothe your soul―with steaming tofu soups, pots of tea, and Korean day spas.
Main drag: El Camino Real in Santa Clara. Korean population: 25,708 in Santa Clara County, making it one of the country’s largest Korean enclaves.
Where the action is: The new Lawrence Plaza (3561 El Camino Real), with Korean clothing boutiques and a mall-style food court of barbecue and noodle places.
Produce for less: The new Super Kyo-Po Plaza supermarket (3521 Homestead Rd.; 408/ 243-9005) buys directly from farmers, making its veggie prices half what you’d expect.
Didn’t even know you needed it: Find chair booties to protect hardwood floors and high-tech rice cookers at Kyo-Po Houseware (3535 Homestead; 408/243-2963).
Something for the road: We love the green-tea pound cake, artemisia castella cake, and not-too-sweet sesame puffs at Baker’s Village (1488 Halford Ave.; 408/246-2434).
Loosen up (for less) at these Asian spas around the Bay Area
Happy Feet Foot Spa In a vast room filled with recliners, therapists rub, thwack, and chop not just your feet but your head, legs, arms, and back too. At $25 per hour, just call it “Happy.” 3731 El Camino Real; 650/565-8855. –LISA TROTTIER
Jin Healing for Women No points for atmosphere, but if you want a get-down-to-business massage ($43 per hour), it’s a knockout value. Just point on a diagram to spots you want worked. 3557 Geary Blvd.; 415/986-1111. –MacKENZIE GEIDT
PSY Health Town After steaming and soaking, lie back on a table in a common area for a sudsy head-to-toe loofah ($50 for 40 minutes). Note: The staff doesn’t wear much at this gender-segregated spa. 14075 E. 14th St.; psysauna.com –L.T.
A Perfect Day Spa It may be bare-bones, but that’s why it’s such a good value. Stop by for a hardworking massage spiced up with reflexology for as little as $37 per hour. 2790 Walsh Ave.; apdspa.com (also in Millbrae and Fremont). –AMY WOLF