Sweet and Sour Pork Spare Ribs, Shanghai Style

These ribs are the real deal. And though called “sweet and sour” they have nothing in common with the sticky, orange sauce some places glop on their ribs.

Serves 3-4

  • 1 pound pork spare ribs
  • 1-2 cups soybean or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons yellow rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (not low sodium)
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Zhen Jiang rice vinegar

1. Use pork spare ribs with 2 parts meat and 1 part bone. Chop them into square pieces about 1 ½ inches. Rinse to clean.  

2. Heat a wok until hot. Add oil to cover the bottom 1/3 of pan and heat to very hot. Deep fry the spare ribs until outside turns golden brown. Strain and set aside.  

3.Use a clean wok and heat till hot. Add the deep fried spare ribs, yellow rice wine, light soy sauce, sugar and rice vinegar. Add water until the spare ribs are covered. Braise for 40 minutes.  

4.Reduce the sauce till very thick.

Cook’s Note: Chef Alan Wang recommends Lee Kum Kee brand sauces. You may need to travel to an Asian food market to get the rice wine vinegars. They aren’t at all like what most American grocery stores sell.

Complete the Meal: Serve with 2-3 vegetable dishes and rice. Tsingtao beer is the drink of choice.

Shopping List
1 pound pork spare ribs (If you’re not prepared with your meat cleaver, ask the butcher to cut into individual ribs and then across the ribs into approximately 3 riblets per rib.)

Soybean or canola oil
Yellow rice wine
Light soy sauce (not low sodium)
Zhen Jiang rice vinegar