Chilled Cucumber Soup (Oi Naeng-guk)

Chilled Cucumber Soup
This image courtesy of Heath Robbins

Dense with slivers of cucumber, this cold sweet-and-sour soup is like a floating salad. The sour element is thought to stimulate your appetite and refresh you in the heat of the summer. However don’t wait for the summer. Serve this cooling soup as a counterpoint with a spicy meal that generates its own heat. 

Serves3 to 4



Total TimeUnder One Hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes


  • 4 mini cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber, cut into matchstick strips
  • 2 shallots, cut into matchstick strips
  • 2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt or kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, preferably low sodium
  • 3 cups (375 ml) cold water
  • 1 green onion (scallion), sliced into 1/4-in (6-mm) rings
  • 1 hot cherry pepper or finger-length red chili pepper, seeded and cut into thin rings


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, shallots and salt. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and water. Add this mixture to the cucumbers.

  3. Add the green onion, mix well, and place in the refrigerator until well chilled. Garnish with cherry pepper rings.


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