Asian Cucumber Salad

This vegan Asian Cucumber Salad is the spiral, slinky-shaped cucumber salad from TikTok. They are refreshingly crunchy, with a tangy flavour!

What is Asian Cucumber Salad?

Asian Cucumber Salad is a classic, cold, Asian side dish you’ll find in most Asian restaurants, but I have put a twist on it (literally). This cucumber salad is my family’s recipe, and is a staple side dish at our family functions. The spiral shape is easy to replicate, and only takes two chopsticks!

This vegan, spiral cucumber shape is trending all over TikTok, and is reminiscent of a slinky – an edible one at that. Typically eaten family-style, as a side dish, this cucumber salad helps cut the greasiness of main course dishes often eaten alongside it. They are a refreshing way to spice up those plain ol’ cucumbers, and a perfect dish to bring to a potluck to impress others.

There are many ways to make Asian Cucumber Salad. Korean and Chinese cucumber salad dishes are most popular, however, my favourite style is Taiwanese cucumber salad. More specifically, Din Tai Fung’s Cucumber Salad – which leans towards the tangy and sweet side of Asian cucumber salads.

Please watch my Asian Cucumber Salad video, as I walk you through how to make them, and hopefully entertain you with my witty sense of humour.

Now let’s get Asian Cucumber Salad-ing!

Why is this Asian Cucumber Salad shaped like a spiral?

The spiral cucumber shape gained popularity after appearing on TikTok, taking on the same cutting technique as the TikTok “accordion potato”. Not only does the spiral shape catch your eye, but they are super fun to make and eat as well.

My family typically smashes the cucumber into chunks, but this twisty cucumber shape is our new go-to cutting method for special occasions.

What is rice vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a vinegar made from fermented rice and is popular amongst East Asian cuisine.

There are two types of rice vinegar – seasoned and unseasoned. I recommend avoiding the seasoned rice vinegar, which contains added sugars and salt, and keeping a bottle of unseasoned rice vinegar in your kitchen. In this recipe, we use unseasoned rice vinegar for the cucumber salad.

What does rice vinegar taste like?

Seasoned rice vinegar has mild acidity due to the sugar and salt added, therefore it is sweeter than most vinegars.

Unseasoned rice vinegar is pure rice vinegar, with no additional ingredients, and has a flavour most similar to apple cider vinegar.

What is a good substitute to rice vinegar?

In my opinion, the cheapest, and most widely accessible vinegar that closely resembles unseasoned rice vinegar is white vinegar. When I do not have rice vinegar handy for my Asian Cucumber Salad, I will use white vinegar as a substitute.

What is the difference between rice vinegar and white vinegar?

There is a difference in colour, with rice vinegar having a yellow-ish hue. There is also a difference in acidity with white vinegar being 5%, compared to the 4.3% of rice vinegar, therefore, white vinegar is 0.7% more acidic.

Why you shouldn’t add soy sauce to Asian Cucumber Salad:

I’ve seen most people use soy sauce in their Asian cucumber salads, however, in my family, we don’t add soy sauce to our cucumber salads.

Soy sauce will dye that vibrantly, sparkling, pastel green meat inside the mini cucumbers into a brown, soy sauce colour – which is not our goal.

What does Asian Cucumber Salad taste like?

When you first take a bite you get hit with that tanginess and sweetness of the dressing. Then you chew a little, and a garlic aroma builds up with a subtle chili pepper flavour from the chili garlic sauce.

The texture of the spiralled cucumbers is unlike any cucumber you’ve had. Since the slices are thinly stacked, there are layers to every bite you take. Every time you sink your teeth in, you’re welcomed with an orchestra of crunch.

Ingredients for Asian Cucumber Salad

Mini cucumbers

Mini cucumbers work best for this dish; they are crunchier and less bitter.

You can also use English cucumbers, but since they have a wider circumference, it may be a hassle to eat.

Rice vinegar

Unseasoned rice vinegar is the star of the show and will give us a nice tang to our cucumber salad.

You can also use white vinegar if you do not have unseasoned rice vinegar.

Salt & sugar

To tone down the acidity, as well as enhance the flavours, salt and sugar are a necessity.


Grated, not minced, so that the garlic juices and aroma will be more prominent, while blending seamlessly into the dressing.

Chili garlic sauce

Adds a nice chili pepper and additional garlic flavour. This is an optional ingredient but highly recommended.

You can also use sriracha if you don’t have chili garlic sauce.

Sesame oil

Sesame oil adds a nuttiness and a refreshing taste. This is a key ingredient to Asian Cucumber Salad.

How to make Asian Cucumber Salad


Cut cucumbers into spiral, slinky shape

Wash and cut the ends off of each cucumber. Sandwich a takeout chopstick on both sides, so it’s parallel with the cucumber. 

With your knife pointing North, evenly cut thin, 3 mm slices into the cucumber, all the way down until you feel the thump of the chopstick.

Once that side is done, flip the cucumber over, and with the knife facing North-West (37° angle), cut thin, 3 mm slices into the cucumber, all the way down, until you feel the thump of the chopstick.


Optional: Sprinkle salt onto cucumbers and rinse

Transfer the cucumbers into a bowl, sprinkle 1 tsp of salt, tossing them in it, and letting it sit for around 5 minutes.

During the time, the cucumbers will sweat out some juices so it won’t dilute the dressing.

Rinse the cucumbers with cold water, in the bowl 3-4 times, to wash the salt off.


Make Asian Cucumber Salad dressing

To a small bowl, add the rice vinegar, white granulated sugar, salt, grated garlic, and chili garlic sauce. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.


Toss cucumbers in dressing and plate

Pour the dressing on top of the cucumbers and gently toss the cucumbers in it. Transfer and plate the cucumbers in a spiral shape onto a large plate, pouring the leftover sauce on top of the cucumbers.

Drizzle sesame oil on top, and serve immediately.

Dig In!

There we have it, Asian Cucumber Salad, and before these snakes bite back, let’s dig in!

Asian Cucumber Salad

This vegan Asian Cucumber Salad is the spiral, slinky-shaped cucumber salad from TikTok.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Chinese, Taiwanese
Servings 4 people


  • 6 pieces mini cucumbers
  • 2 tsp sesame oil garnish

Asian Cucumber Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar unseasoned
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce optional
  • 2 tbsp water


  • Wash and cut ends off cucumbers.
  • Place a chopstick, parallel to the cucumber, on both sides.
  • Make vertical, straight, 3 mm cuts into the cucumber, all the way down to the chopstick.
  • Flip the cucumber over, and make diagonal (37° angle), 3 mm cuts into the cucumbers, all the way down to the chopstick.
  • Optional: Place cucumbers into a bowl and sprinkle 1 tsp of salt, letting them sit for 5 mins for some of the juices to escape. Rinse the cucumbers with cold water, 3-4 times, in the bowl.
  • Place the Asian Cucumber Salad dressing ingredients into a bowl. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour the dressing over the cucumbers, gently tossing them in the bowl.
  • Transfer and plate the cucumbers into a spiral shape on a large plate, pouring the leftover dressing on top.
  • Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and serve immediately (Note 1).



  1. The cucumber salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 day.
Keywords cucumber, salad

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