With all due respect to the magenta glow of suburban Chinese restaurant spareribs, the sweet-and-sour baby ribs at Shanghai Fresh boast a bit more nuance, not to mention tradition. A popular entry point into a Shanghainese meal, and a fast favorite at this Central Square newcomer, tang cu pai gu consists of two-inch pork ribs simmered with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, black vinegar, sugar and ginger until the meat turns tender and the sweet-tangy liquid reduces to a syrupy glaze. The pieces are served “cold”—more accurately, at room temperature—and are tailor-made for nibbling.
Sweet-and-sour baby ribs, $6.25 at Shanghai Fresh, 735 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-868-8877)