Preheat the oven 10 375 degree F. Trim any excess fat from the ribs and place them in a long shallow dish. In a mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients; if you are using 5-spice powder, add it to the mixture by putting it through a tea strainer so it spreads out over the mixture. Mix well, and pour over the ribs and leave for 3 hours at room temperature or about 6 hours in the refrigerator. Baste the ribs every hours or so, turning them over.
TO ROAST THE RIBS: Remove the ribs from the marinade. Add the 1/4 cup plum sauce to the marinade; reserve it for basting. Hook metal drapery hooks through both ends of each rack of ribs, at the top, and hang each one as if you were hanging a hammock, suspended from the bars of one of the oven racks. Set the oven rack in the highest position in the oven. On the floor of the oven or on another oven rack set at the lowest position in the oven, place a baking pan half filled with water, to collect drippings and prevent smoking. You may want to line the baking pan with aluminum foil before putting the water in, to make it easier to clean. Roast the spareribs for 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Then baste them with the reserved basting sauce, using a small pastry brush and carefully pulling out the oven rack to facilitate the basting process. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees F and roast for another 15 minutes. By this time the spareribs should be a rich golden brown with crisp edges. Baste again, then take them out of the oven. Place the ribs on a cutting board and remove the drapery hooks. Separate the individual ribs with a cleaver or sharp knife. Serve at room temperature, with dipping sauce. Makes 6 to 8 appetizer servings.
NOTE: You will need about 12 drapery hooks.
Recipe: "Chinese Appetizers" by Verdi Published by Irene Chalmers Cookbooks, 1981