2tablespoonsChinese red vinegar or red wine vinegar
Remove excess fat from the ribs, if any. (The fat, if rendered down, makes the best lard.) Pat dry the spareribs.
Marinate the spareribs. Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, and wine or sherry to the spareribs and mix thoroughly. Leave to stand for 3-4 hours, turning them over occasionally. The marinade should be all absorbed at the end of the marinating time.
Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
Just before you are ready to cook, sprinkle the ribs with the cornstarch and mix to coat well.
Half-fill the wok with oil and heat to 300° F, or until a cube of stale bread foams slowly. Carefully add all the spareribs, lowering the heat to maintain a temperature of between 200-250° F, or until only tiny whirlpools are seen on the surface of the oil. Steep the spareribs, the thin pieces for about 10 minutes and the thick pieces for 15 minutes, or until they are just cooked, separating them with a long pair of bamboo chopsticks or a wooden spoon. Remove with a large hand strainer or perforated spoon and drain on paper towels. This step can be done several hours ahead.
Reheat the oil to a temperature of 350-375° F. Return the spareribs to the wok and deep-fry for 1-2 minutes to crisp the outside. Remove and drain on paper towels. Empty the oil into a container and save for another use. Wash and dry the wok.
Reheat the wok over a high heat until smoke rises. Add 1tablespoon oil and swirl it around. Add the garlic, let sizzle and take on color, releasing the aroma. Remove from the heat and let the oil cook for 20-30 seconds. Add the well-stirred sauce and bring to a boil over a gentle heat, stirring as it thickens. Discard the garlic.
Return the spareribs to the wok and mix thoroughly with the sauce. Remove to a serving dish. Arrange the tomato on either side. Serve immediately.