Zen Mei’s first anniversary deal is so popular, they’ve been offering it for about four years. Order $20 worth of food, and you get a free plate of fried salty shrimp. It’s one of their best dishes, with very large shrimp, crispy and delicious.

Their wontons are some of the best in Chinatown, nice and meaty, with a good ratio of shrimp to pork. House special wonton soup ($5) is a huge bowl of the stuff, with plenty of wontons, squid, shrimp, pork, and vegetables in a tasty broth. Beef with Chinese broccoli is quite good, and the portion is generous.

Also good: fried chicken, a hearty kung pao chicken with lots of peppers, dry fried string beans.

This is a nice, family-style joint off the beaten path that’s usually full of people who know of its afforable prices and reliable food. Decor is retro diner.

Zen Mei Bistro [Chinatown]
800 Yale St., at Alpine, Los Angeles

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