Skip to Content

Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Jump to Recipe | Save Recipe
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!

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

Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad

A refreshing and spicy Chinese cucumber salad that is a great starter for any meal!
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Julie Chiou
Save Rate Text Print


  • 4 persian cucumbers, (you can also use seedless cucumbers)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • ½ 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.


This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: cucumber

There is an affiliate link within this post.

Recipe Rating


Friday 8th of January 2021

I followed this recipe and my cucumbers soaked up the marinade within an hour. They were brown like the soy sauce and very salty. They didn’t look anything like the picture. Are you sure you didn’t reverse the amount of soy vs. vinegar?

Julie Chiou

Saturday 9th of January 2021

i'm sorry the photos were misleading. those cucumbers weren't marinated long because aesthetically for photos, they needed to not be brown. i assure you though, this is a recipe that i grew up eating and my mom made it once a week in our household. they would always be brown. no other way around that, honestly. additionally, yes, i'm positive i didn't reverse the measurements. 1/2 cup of vinegar would be extremely sour. did you use low-sodium soy sauce? perhaps try that next time or use 1/4 cup first to taste.


Thursday 7th of November 2019

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

Julie Wampler

Saturday 9th of November 2019

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


Thursday 7th of November 2019

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

Saturday 9th of November 2019

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

David Smith

Wednesday 29th of May 2019

Do you chop the dried chilies, or leave them whole

Julie Wampler

Sunday 2nd of June 2019

I chopped them.


Thursday 17th of August 2017

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!


Monday 21st of August 2017

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