Dali-Style Cucumber with Vinegar and Chile Sauce Recipe

Learn how to make this easy, yet refreshing, flavorful, and spicy Dali-Style Cumber with Vinegar and Chile Sauce.

| April 2019


The cold cucumber salads served in Dali are some of the richest and most flavorful in China, slathered with spicy chile sauce and sticky-sweet dark soy in addition to the vinegar, garlic, and cilantro that are commonly used to dress cucumbers in other parts of the country. This version comes from a young woman named Yang Haxiang, who lives in Old Town Dali with her family in a cozy house just a few steps from the city’s famous West Gate.


  • 2 cucumbers, preferably bumpy-skinned Chinese cucumbers or thin English “seedless” cucumbers
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. thinly sliced cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 tbsp. Zhenjiang vinegar
  • 1 to 2 tsp. chile sauce (lajiao jiang)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce


1.) Peel the cucumbers, then smash them with the flat side of a cleaver and cut them into 11/2-inch chunks. Add the garlic, cilantro, and seasonings to the cucumber and mix well.


More from Cooking South of the Clouds

Reprinted with permission from Cooking South of the Clouds by Georgia Freedman and published by Kyle Books, 2018.



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