Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad

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    A refreshing and spicy Chinese cucumber salad that is a great starter for any meal!

    A refreshing and spicy Chinese cucumber salad that is a great starter for any meal!

    I’m starting to notice it. The days are getting shorter and I’m slowly coming to the realization that summer is almost over. How does every season just fly by so fast every single time? Even though I’m 100% not ready for shorter days, I’m pretty stoked about the leaves changing color and the crisp air. I think that is my most favorite part of Fall. The crisp, cold, and clean air. Oh, and the warm cinnamon scent.

    Ha, I don’t know why I’m reminiscing about Fall right now…MAYBE because it’s 95 bajillion degrees outside right now with humidity that suffocates you the moment you step out of your nicely air conditioned home or car? Yeah. That’s probably a very good reason why!

    Anyway! I have a story about this spicy Chinese cucumber salad.

    A refreshing and spicy Chinese cucumber salad that is a great starter for any meal!

    When Jason and I first started dating, I knew that if he didn’t like ethnic cuisine, we would definitely not work out. Additionally, I was really hoping he was adventurous because in a lot of Asian cuisine, you have to be! Thankfully, and as you can tell cause we are now married, he was and still is! To be honest, I think he is actually more adventurous than I am.

    One of the first restaurants that Jason and I went to around here was a Taiwanese cafe. Jason loves cucumbers in any form and when he spotted this spicy Chinese cucumber salad on the menu, he said he had to have it. I had to triple check that he was sure because these things tend to be spicy (unless you make it yourself because in that case, you can easily adjust). He was 100% sure and he pretty much ate the entire dish himself, haha

    It has been on my bucket list for a while to make this cucumber salad for him because of how much he loves it. Every time we go to a Taiwanese or Chinese restaurant and the menu has this cucumber salad, he orders it. Thankfully, this is extremely easy to make at home and I can make this often to satisfy his craving!

    A refreshing and spicy Chinese cucumber salad that is a great starter for any meal!

    Don’t let these dried chiles fool you; they are five alarm spicy!

    Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad

    A refreshing and spicy Chinese cucumber salad that is a great starter for any meal!
    Prep Time: 45 mins
    Total Time: 6 hrs 45 mins
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 3 -4 servings, as appetizers
    Author: Julie Chiou
    5 Hassle-Free Ways to Simplify MealtimeSign up here for all the secrets!


    • 4 persian cucumbers (you can also use seedless cucumbers)
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
    • 2-3 dried red chiles


    • Cut the ends of the cucumbers off then cut the cucumber in half, lengthwise then in half again, lengthwise, and then into quarters.
    • In a bowl, toss cucumbers with salt and let sit for 30-40 minutes to let liquid drain off. Rinse the cucumbers to get excess salt off.
    • In a measuring cup, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, sambal oelek, and dried red chiles. Add more sugar, vinegar, spice, to taste.
    • In an airtight container with a lid, add the cucumbers to the container then pour the soy sauce mixture over top.
    • Tightly close the lid and shake!
    • Let marinate in the fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours.
    • Before serving, shake the container again to redistribute mixture.
    • Serve chilled.

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    Recipe Rating


  • Jenny Flake says:

    Love these flavors! Great salad!

  • Christine @ WRY TOAST says:

    is it weird that I want to stuff these straight into a gyro? because I totally am dying to!

    • Julie says:

      That’s an awesome idea!! Love it!

  • Marla Meridith says:

    Such a refreshing summer salad!

  • naomi says:

    Love how simple, but full of flavor!

  • Kevin @ Closet Cooking says:

    Love the flavours for this cucumber salad!

  • Goldnrod says:

    Could you make this with zucchini? Dh doesn’t care for cucumbers, but we have lots of zucchini from the garden.

    • Julie says:

      You could! I’ve never eaten zucchini raw before though but I think otherwise, it should be fine. Flavor might be slightly different but it should still taste good :)

  • Maria says:

    Love the added spice!

  • dixya | food, pleasure, and health says:

    i had a very similar salad, it was called smashed cucumber salad – but not spicy just lots of flavors. i came home and immediately made it. i am loving this spicy version!!

  • Gaby Dalkin says:

    Who knew cucumbers could taste so good! Looks so refreshing and tasty!

  • Heather Christo says:

    I LOVE this! So fresh!!

  • Roxanne says:

    Just wondering do the cucumbers get real mushy? Thinking I will half the recipe cause I’m the only one who will be eating it.

    • Julie says:

      The cucumbers will get mushy if you leave it in the refrigerator longer than a three days. On day two, you can tell they aren’t as crunchy as day 1 and so forth :)

  • Kay Kearly says:

    What is sambal oelek, and where do I find it?

    • Julie says:

      Sorry! I forgot to link to it. It’s a spicy garlic type sauce that you can find it in the Asian section at the grocery store or get it on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2a6khgA

  • Caprise Holmes says:

    Looking for recipes

    • Julie says:

      If you are on a mobile device, click the purple button that says “CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE” :)

  • John says:

    What kind of soy sauce did you use? The spices were delicious, but I’m considering cutting down the amount of soy sauce the next time I prepare this. Love all the other ingredients, no doubt!

    • Julie says:

      I just used kikkoman soy sauce – you can use the low sodium or regular

  • David Smith says:

    Do you chop the dried chilies, or leave them whole

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I chopped them.

  • Maryann says:

    Do you put the red chilis in the marinade whole or do you chop them up? Do you take them out of the salad before serving?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      i chopped them up and i didn’t take them out of the salad before serving

  • Maryann says:

    Also, can I use another chili sauce? I have Harissa. Would that work?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      it could; not sure how it alters the flavor though!

  • 5 Hassle-Free Ways to Simplify Mealtime