Chinese Cucumber Salad 拍黄瓜


English recipe – Please scroll down

Chinese cucumber salad is one of the well-loved cold dishes.

It is delicious and crunchy, healthy and appertizing too.

I’d say this is one of the best dish to make on a hot summer day.

Not only the ingredients are affordable, they are conveniently available all year long in wet markets and supermarkets.

Is Chinese cucumber salad a challenging dish? Definitely not.

However, you may need to observe a few tips to get it wonderfully done.

When I was sharing my photo of Chinese cucumber salad dish earlier on, a cooking pal told me she found it hard to achieve the same taste as she had it in mainland Chinese restaurant.

It is not a secret, that these restaurants apply MSG in most of their food, included the Chinese cucumber salad. Not only that, they chilled the salad well hence customers find it so tasty.

However, most of us do not use MSG at home. How do we achieve flavour penetration? How not to get a watery cucumber salad but still well chilled? Please read through and follow step-by-step of this recipe, getting the details right means you will get crunchy, tasty Chinese cucumber salad that comes very close to the one you had in the restaurant.

The cucumber that we use for preparing this dish, is called Japanese cucumber in local wet markets and supermarkets.

The Chinese cucumber salad is called “拍黄瓜”(pai huang gua)in Chinese, which literally means “smack cucumber”. The word “smack” conveys a very important message, we have to “smack” the cucumber.

The best size of cucumber that you should get is about 1inch in diameter.

First, you smack it with a Chinese cleaver, then you roll the cucumber while slicing it to get some diagonal cuts.

The crack lines resulted from smacking and the diagonal cuts increase the surface to be exposed to marinate, hence these steps enhance the taste penetration.

Please do not do away the above 2 steps as they will make your dish tastier.

Second, please use fresh garlic to get the kick of spice. I know many prepare minced garlic in bulk to save time. It does not make significant difference when you do stir-fry but the difference is obvious for making cold dishes. Please take note.

Third, I usually use pink salt and brown sugar for home cooking.

Please note that pink salt is less salty than fine salt. Therefore, if you use fine salt, please reduce the quantity slightly. The salt that we sprinkle at the end of dish, it has to be fine salt, do not sprinkle coarse ones and kill all your hairs overnight. Why do we sprinkle salt at the last step? First of all, the grains of salt will replace the immediate savoury experience that the dish offers due to the use of MSG. Most important of all, the salt sprinkled last will not induce liquid to be released from cucumber that dilutes the vinegar marinate.

Brown sugar is slightly less sweet compared to fine sugar. I love it for its mild fragrance. Therefore, if you use fine sugar, please reduce the quantity slightly too.

Now we are ready to go through the recipe and steps.

Chinese Cucumber Salad

Ingredient list

1.Japanese cucumber 2pcs
2.Minced garlic 15g
3.Soy sauce 1 tblsp
4.Zheng Jiang vinegar 1 tsp
5.Brown sugar 1/2 tsp
6.Black sesame oil 1 tsp
7.Pink salt to taste


  1. Clean the Japanese cucumbers, drain dry. Trim away both ends. Smack the cucumber with a Chinese cleaver, then cut it into bite size, by rolling the cucumber throughout cutting it diagonally. Repeat the same for the second piece of cucumber.
  2. Place the cucumber pieces into a big bowl, chilled at least 30min.
  3. In another bowl, mix ingredients 2-6, stir well until sugar dissolves. This is the vinegar marinate, chilled well before use.
  4. 10min before serving, pour away excess liquid in cucumber should there be any. Pour vinegar marinate in, stir to mix well. Put the cucumber salad into freezer for 5-8 min.
  5. Give the cucumber a few stirs after you sprinkled them with pink salt to taste, give it a few toast, proceed to plating. Serve cold.

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