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Mix together water, garlic, onion, bay leaves, red chili flakes, Chinese five-spice, salt, and rice vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil, turn to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Place ribs in the simmering broth. Return to a simmer, turn heat to low, and cook for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, or coat with cooking spray.
Whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal oelek chili paste, Dijon mustard, ketchup, honey, brown sugar, and Chinese five-spice powder in a large bowl.
Remove the ribs from the broth and transfer them to the bowl with the soy sauce glaze. Toss to coat.
Transfer glazed ribs to the prepared baking sheet. Reserve extra glaze for brushing.
Bake ribs in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn the ribs and brush with more glaze. Cook 15-20 more minutes, brushing occasionally with remaining glaze if desired. Remove and serve.