Stick with ribs for these two tasty meals
Chinese spare ribs are restaurant food, and usually gnaw-the-bone good. You can also make delicious ribs at home, where you don’t have to worry about table manners. There are three cuts of ribs: meaty pork ribs, sometimes called St. Louis-style; baby-back pork ribs that have less meat; and country-style ribs that may take longer to cook and aren’t traditionally used in Chinese recipes. St. Louis and baby back both come in racks. I prefer the meaty St. Louis; butchers will cut the ribs into individual bones, which is what you want. Marinate them for several hours in a soy and hoisin mixture with ketchup, then roast them in a hot oven. The marinade turns into a glazy sauce with a deep reddish tone (because of ketchup). One drawback to this foolproof method: The sweet sauce and high oven temperature make everything stick like crazy to your pan, so line it with heavy duty foil. Add gloriously green baby bok choy and a bowl of rice to turn this classic appetizer into a main course.
Stash away a few ribs and some of the bok choy for bowls of pork-noodle ramen. Add scallions and a few slices of ginger to a good quality beef broth, then simmer the ribs in it to heat them through and flavor the soup. Serve the broth with pork sliced off the bone, curly ramen noodles, sometimes called chuka soba, the bok choy, and a handful of crunchy bean sprouts. Recycle all those take-out menus, toss that packaged ramen, and do it yourself.