Kirbie's Cravings

Chinese Cucumber Salad

Crisp and cold Chinese cucumber salad is a quick and easy appetizer or side dish. The dressing is savory, tangy, a little sweet, with a hint of spiciness from chili peppers.

a bowl of cucumber salad.

You’ll often see Chinese cucumber salad offered as an appetizer or side dish at Chinese restaurants. The salad consists of crisp, sliced cucumbers that have been marinated in a blend of soy sauce, wine, vinegar, and chili peppers.

Every restaurant that serves it has its own Chinese cucumber salad recipes. It’s a staple at most Taiwanese restaurants, and we had quite a lot of it during our trip last Fall. While I enjoy the version I make at home, the ones we usually have at Taiwanese restaurants always seem to be especially tasty with some extra flavors that I haven’t been able to recreate at home.

It’s a tasty and addicting appetizer and something my family never ceases to get sick of and continue to get at restaurants even though we also make it at home often. It’s really easy to make.

So my brother and I decided to try some new recipes out in order to find one that is most similar to the ones served at the Taiwanese restaurants. I came across a Chinese cucumber recipe that looked really promising.


  • Chilled Persian cucumbers
  • Salt
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Granulated sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Peeled and smashed raw garlic cloves
  • Finely chopped chiles

Chinese cucumber salad in a white bowl.

Cucumbers: I like to use Persian cucumbers because they’re really crisp. You can use English cucumbers or the regular ones, but they don’t stay as crispy once sliced and combined with the dressing.

Chilies: If you don’t want to chop chili peppers, there are some substitutions you can try. You can use some chili oil instead. Start with a small amount and add more until you like the spiciness. You can also use red pepper flakes, but I don’t like them as much in this recipe.


if you are using Persian cucumbers, you don’t need to peel them. Other types have thicker skins, so you may want to peel if you are using a different kind.

Slice the cucumber in half and remove the seeds by running a spoon down the length to scoop them out. Cut the cucumber up into bite-sized pieces and then chill them in the refrigerator while you make the dressing.

Combine the salt, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and soy sauce in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add the garlic and chilies to the sauce and stir.

Take the cucumbers out of the fridge and pour the sauce over the chilled cucumber pieces and toss lightly to combine. The salad is best served cold.

The verdict? While we enjoyed this version and had no problems finishing a large batch, it still didn’t echo the taste of the ones we had at our favorite restaurants in Taiwan. I do love the crisp texture and flavors, but our search continues, but I’ll revisit this easy recipe.

the final dish in a bowl.

More Asian Salad Recipes

Chinese Cucumber Salad

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Chinese cucumber salad is often offered as an appetizer at Chinese restaurants. The salad consists of crisp, raw cucumber pieces that have been marinated in a blend of soy sauce, wine, vinegar and chilies. I like to use Persian cucumbers because they are very crisp.


  • 4 Persian cucumbers chilled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed
  • 2 chilies finely chopped


  • Slice the cucumber in half and remove the seeds. Cut the cucumber up into bite-sized chunks and refrigerate.
  • In a medium-sized bowl mix the salt, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce together until the sugar melts. Add the garlic and chilies to the sauce and stir.
  • Toss the cucumber pieces with the sauce and serve.


Recipe source: Butterfingers


Serving: 0.25of recipe, Calories: 92kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 4g, Sodium: 1344mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, NET CARBS: 9

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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8 comments on “Chinese Cucumber Salad”

  1. I love the ones at my favorite restaurant, I wanted to make a good size batch. Are these on the sweet side like the ones I love ? these look so good.

  2. This makes me miss my favorite Taiwanese restaurant in my college town!! 🙁 I am greatly anticipating your discovery of the perfect Taiwanese place in San Diego!

  3. Hi Kirbie – This is great stuff. I make a version of Qiang Huang Hua, Sichuan Spicy Cucumber at home. I estimated that it costs about a buck to make.

    • My brother and I have been on a mission, trying out different recipes. It’s definitely cheaper to make at home. Hard to justify getting it when I go out. heh

  4. oh yes! I know EXACTLY what this is and I love it and Jason is SO obsessed with it. thanks for sharing this!!