Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad (拍黄瓜)

Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad | Omnivore's Cookbook

Smashed Cucumber Salad (拍黄瓜, pai huang gua) is a light and refreshing appetizer. The crisp cucumber is mixed with plenty of garlic, drizzled with an appetizing blend of soy sauce, vinegar and sugar, then finished with a few drops of sesame oil. The sauce is light, yet it has a distinct sour flavor with a hint of sweetness, enhanced by the strong aroma of garlic.

This cucumber salad only takes 5 minutes to prepare. It’s low in calories, not to mention refreshing and tasty. The salad goes very well with pretty much any Chinese dish, stir-fry, braised meats, noodles, deep fried goodies, you name it. It even goes very well with some western style food, such as bread and cheese. I consider it  one of the most convenient appetizers / salads to make for a weekday dinner.

Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad | Omnivore's Cookbook

I used English cucumber in this recipe and did’t peel it completely, in order to give the dish a nice color. The skin also adds more fiber to the meal. If the cucumber is fresh, the skin shouldn’t be too chewy or dry. You could choose to only remove the tough skin at the lower end of cucumber. However, if you don’t like the skin, feel free to peel and discard it.

The secret to making delicious cucumber salad is to give it a nice texture. Instead of chopping the cucumber immediately, you should smash it with a cleaver first, then tilt the cleaver to cut the cucumber into diamond-shaped pieces. This method will increase the surface area of the cucumber and create a coarse texture, allowing it to absorb more sauce. The amount of sauce created by this recipe should be just right, but feel free to adjust the seasoning by increasing or reducing the amount.

Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad | Omnivore's Cookbook

I also made a short video below, to show you how easy it is to cook this dish! If you like Chinese cuisine, be sure to check out my cooking channel on YouTube. It contains a good collection of cooking videos to help you become familiar with Chinese cooking skills in a short span of time.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad (拍黄瓜)
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 2-4
  • 2 English cucumbers, tough skin removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Dry cucumber with a paper towel. Place cucumber on a large cutting board and carefully use a cleaver to crush it. Then cut it into bite size pieces and place them into a bowl. Top with garlic.
  2. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, salt and sesame oil in a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Right before serving, pour the sauce mixture over the cucumber and mix well. (Do not add the sauce beforehand. It will cause the cucumber to lose water, and the sauce will be diluted.

The nutrition facts below is calculated based on 1 of 4 serves generated from the recipe.

Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad Nutrition Facts | Omnivore's Cookbook


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  1. Thomas says

    This is my favorite Chinese cold dish! I’m looking forward to seeing more like it, such as tofu and celery, wood ear, peanuts, etc.

  2. Dani says

    I love cucumber side dishes! I’ve never thought to use garlic and sesame oil with cucumbers before, but it looks so delicious, I’m definitely going to have to give it a try!

  3. Danielle says

    I just got back from China and this was one of my favorite dishes! It’s amazing to me that something as simple as cucumbers could be so good…definitely going to have to try making this!

    • says

      Hi Danielle, thanks for stopping by and leaving a nice comment! I’m glad to hear that you like some of the Chinese food and would like to cook them at home.
      Yes, a lot of Chinese dishes are very simple but taste good. Hope you enjoy the dish and let me know how it goes with the cooking! :)

  4. says

    So glad I stumbled upon your website! This reminds me of the cucumber salad my dad used to make all the time – definitely planning on making it myself as well :)

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