Braised Sweet and Sour Spareribs (糖醋排骨 – Tong Cho Pai Gwut)

Braised sweet and sour spareribs

This is one of those dishes that I only had at the best Shanghai restaurant in Toronto called 大上海 until they suddenly closed (!!). This really compelled me to support the businesses I love 😦 because its closing also meant the loss of the best hot and sour soup, dan dan mein, and lion head rice. I wouldn’t have the ribs again until Victor’s mom made it one day when I went over for dinner! These ribs are really good, but the sauce at 大上海 is much stickier, and I wonder if they use molasses in place of regular sugar? I think I’m going to try using Chinese brown sugar (片糖) next time to give it a little more depth since even if molasses is original to the recipe, I wouldn’t buy it due to its limited use. You’ll see little matchsticks of bamboo in my photo – that was only because I had to use it up 😛 – therefore I didn’t include it in the writeup 🙂


  • 2lb pork spareribs (ask the butcher to cut it across the bones so you can cut it up into bite-sized pieces at home)
  • 1tbsp Shao Hsing cooking wine
  • 2tbsp soy sauce (1 tbsp light, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp Zhen Jiang vinegar
  • 5 tbsp water


  • Boil a large pot of water and blanch the ribs for 3min to rid of impurities and blood clots. Drain and rinse 3 times.
  • In a large pan, add in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Add the ribs, stir, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer covered on low-medium heat for 45min, stirring occasionally. It is done when the ribs are tender, dark coloured, and the sauce has reduced. If you find the sauce drying up too fast, you can add more of the sauce ingredients, keeping the same ratio. Skim the fat.