Taiwanese Cucumber salad

This Taiwanese cucumber salad (涼拌小黃瓜) is a homely cold dish which can be whipped up in less than 15 minutes, minus waiting time. So I call it quick pickled cucumbers. It’s great as both an appetizer and a side-dish to any meal. I made this in my little Taipei kitchen :)

Cooking from Taipei:
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Taiwanese Cucumber Salad Recipe

Such dishes are popularly known as “涼拌菜” (liangbancai) in Taiwan, which roughly translates as cold side dishes. In Taiwan’s local eateries such as their beef noodles joint, there will be one section with plates of liangbancai which you can pick and choose to go with your meal. This cold cucumber salad is one of them. It is so easy to make, it’s probably on the home menu of every Taiwanese cook here.

Taiwanese Cucumber Salad Recipe
The finger-length red chilli adds colour while the smaller chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli) adds heat. You can use either only one or both type of chillis depending on whether you like it hot or not.  I use both in my home-made version as I like my cucumber salad both refreshingly cool yet mildly spicy at the same time.

Step-by-Step Pictures

Taiwanese Cucumber Salad Recipe
Cut the cucumber to small “logs”. Rub the cucumber pieces with sea salt. Leave it for 30 minutes.

Taiwanese Cucumber Salad Recipe
After 30 minutes, the cucumber will ‘sweat’ out its liquid (pic above). Discard the water collected in the dish. Rinse the cucumber to get rid of excess salt. Drain and set aside.  This process makes the pickled cucumber more crunchy.

Taiwanese Cucumber Salad Recipe
In a food container, add the prepped cucumber together with the seasonings. Close container with a tight-fitting lid, shake well to mix the contents evenly (pic above). Alternatively, you can mix everything in a bowl with a spoon. Chill covered in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Taiwanese Cucumber salad

This cold cucumber salad keeps well in a covered container in the fridge for up to a day. Beyond one day, there is much more liquid water collected in the dish and the liquid also tends to have a ‘stickier’ feel. You can discard some of this liquid before serving. Since this recipe is so easy, it is recommended to make what you need and finish eating them on the same day.

Check out the step-by-step pictures on the previous page.


  • 250g (1 big longish or 2-3 smaller ones) Japanese cucumber
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

(A) Seasonings

  • 1 tbsp clear rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 finger-length red chilli de-seeded & diced; for colour
  • 2 red chilli padi de-seeded & diced; optional, for heat
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fine sugar

You also need

  • food container with tight-fitting lid


  1. Cut the cucumbers. Trim and discard both ends of cucumber. Cut cucumber to 4 cm sections, then halved lengthwise and cut each piece to 2-3 smaller logs. Optional: scrap off some of the seeds with a spoon if preferred.
  2. ‘Sweat’ the cucumbers to make them crunchy. Rub cut cucumber with salt and leave them in a bowl for 30 minutes. After that, discard water collected in the bowl. Rinse cucumber to get rid of the excess salt. Drain and add prepped cucumber in a container.
  3. Pickle the cucumbers. Combine prepped cucumbers with seasonings (A), close the lid and shake to coat the everything evenly. Keep covered and chill in the fridge for half hour before serving.