Quan Hy Restaurant, Westminster, CA (pictured). Quan Hy, in Westminster’s Little Saigon, specializes in the dishes of central Vietnam, and it’s spiffier than most of the pho parlors that surround it. Must-try: Great versions of the spicy soup bun bo hue, and clam salad with peanuts and rice crackers. $; 9727 Bolsa Ave., 8.3 mi. off State 1; 714/775-7179.
Pacific Fish Center, Redondo Beach, CA. It’s a few blocks off Pacific Coast Highway (State 1) but closer than Seoul. This Korean seafood restaurant, right on Redondo Pier, is known for its steamed Dungeness crabs, gigantic sashimi platters, and (if you want to go there) live prawns and octopus. Pretty expensive, and very Korean, but not at all intimidating. Must-try: Korean fish soup. $$$; 131 Fisherman’s Wharf; 310/374-8420.