If you don't have five-spice powder, use 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon and pinch each ground cloves and pepper.
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce or tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) rice vinegar or cider vinegar
3/4 tsp (4 mL) five-spice powder
1-1/2 lb (680 g) chicken wings, (without tips)
1/4 tsp (1 mL) white pepper
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable oil
3 green onions, cut in 1-1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot red pepper, (optional), seeded and thinly sliced
In heavy-bottom saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat, swirling occasionally but not stirring, until melted, clear and nutty brown. Remove from heat.
Averting eyes, stir in soy sauce and vinegar until bubbles subside; stir in five-spice powder. If mixture clumps, stir over low heat until almost melted (any remainder will melt in cooking). Set caramel mixture aside.
Sprinkle wings with pepper. In wok or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; fry wings, in 2 batches, until golden and juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 6 minutes per batch. Drain in sieve over heatproof bowl.
Reserving 1-1/2 tbsp (22 mL), drain oil from wok; wipe clean. Return reserved oil to wok and heat over medium-high heat; fry onions and garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add wings, and hot pepper (if using); stir-fry for 1 minute. Add caramel mixture; stir-fry until reduced and wings are coated, about 2 minutes.