Are you looking for something refreshing, light, healthy, and cold cold cold? Yes, how about a cold cucumber side dish? In Korean it’s called oi-naengguk and it’s perfect for summer! The thin cucumber matchsticks soaked in icy cold, sweet, sour, salty, and garlicky brine will please your appetite. The cold temperature is a nice surprise and the crispy but soft texture of the cucumber is wonderful.

A great thing about this side dish is that you can make it in 5 minutes, and you don’t need to cook anything at all. Just cut the ingredients and mix.

Make this in the summer time, and I guarantee everyone will love it. My cookbook co-writer, Lauren, learned how to make this when she was recipe testing, and got a ton of stars from her family when she served it. They are all fans of oi-naengguk now, and when the book was done Lauren told me it’s one of her favorite Korean dishes. I was surprised!

I originally posted an oi-naengguk video years ago, but this one is a little updated and is a vegetarian version, and the video is HD. If you’re looking for the old one, it’s still here.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 large English cucumber (12 ounces) or 2 to 3 kirby cucumbers, chilled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh red chili pepper (optional)
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vinegar
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 7-8 ice cubes (1 cup)
  • 1- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, ground


  1. Cut the cucumber into 3 inch long thin matchsticks and put them into a chilled mixing bowl.cucumber-matchsticks
  2. Add garlic, green onion, and red chili pepper (if used).
  3. Add the salt, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Mix well, gently with a spoon until the salt and sugar are well dissolved.oi-naengguk (cold cucumber soup : 오이냉국)oi-naengguk (cold cucumber soup : 오이냉국)
  4. Add the water,  ice cubes, and the sliced tomato (if you use), and gently mix with a spoon.oi-naengguk (cold cucumber soup : 오이냉국)
  5. Put the sesame seeds powder on top, scoop out 4 portions into individual bowls, and serve right away with rice.

oi-naengguk (cold cucumber soup : 오이냉국)

Cold cucumber soup

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  1. Graidan Denver, CO joined 7/20 & has 1 comment

    We made a version of this tonight, because it’s so hot. We made a few changes… Added red radishes and some fish sauce! We also made it chunkier to be the main dish. Such a great recipe, and one of our favorite go to recipes. Thank you!

    See full size image

  2. Primalwalk Colorado joined 5/20 & has 18 comments

    I used red beans for the kong guksu since I couldn’t find any soy beans – the cucumber salad (Korean gazpacho) is so amazing!!!!!

    See full size image

  3. moocasa SoCal joined 8/16 & has 1 comment

    Thank you, Maangchi! I made this as a starter for a big dinner for my Korean in-laws on a very hot day. It was so simple with basic ingredients we had on hand—and it was a big hit! They were impressed that I have such a “sense for Korean food” even though I am American. They don’t know you are my secret weapon. Thanks again!!

  4. hcconnie joined 7/15 & has 1 comment

    When I was in Korea my aunt made this for me with seaweed. Do I just soak the seaweed in water before I add it to the cucumbers? It was one of my favorite things to eat since I visited in the summer but my mom doesn’t make it here in the US lol.

  5. ternity joined 7/15 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, Thanks to you, i made some delicious cold cucumber soup today :D

    See full size image

  6. Sharker Cyprus joined 8/14 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, you say that it is also possible to make this recipe using eggplant. Do you need to cook the eggplant or soak them in salty water or anything before following the cucumber recipe?

  7. wittypretty Saudi Arabia joined 7/14 & has 2 comments

    i adore this soup . i make it over and over very refreshing.
    i call it depression aid :)

  8. reesejin corona joined 4/10 & has 1 comment

    Made this a few days back. Super tasty. Thank you for posting your recipes! :-)

  9. Karaisoke Arizona joined 10/12 & has 2 comments

    I know this is crazy late, but I was watching “Happy Together” and a dish was made using cold cucumber soup. If I were to make this a day or two in advance, how long does it stay in the fridge? Sometimes it gets so hot here that it would be perfect after I get done at the book store. Thank you for your recipes!

  10. SergioD Madrid, Spain joined 11/10 & has 12 comments

    Hi Maangchi!
    I’m glad you liked gazpacho! It’s one of my favorite meals in hot days. I think cold soups is one of the things we have in common in Korea and Spain. I’ll try this recipe as soon as possible, it’s starting to get very hot here in Madrid!
    Greetings from Spain.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      I tasted gazpacho soup for the first time when I travled to Portugal and fell in love with the soup. After Portugal, I went to Spain and I ordered the soup whenever I went to a restaurant. It was hot summer days. Delicious!

  11. Tarz Las Cruces, NM joined 8/11 & has 1 comment

    You made my day, so glad I found your website. I love this dish, it is one of the things I miss the most about Korea.

  12. seraph74 Sydney, Australia joined 5/11 & has 7 comments

    You make it look so easy – especially for an inexperienced chef like me – and yet… it IS easy! Have been waylaid with a stomach virus and all I can eat is soup, and this sounded like such a wonderful change. Just made a batch for tomorrow (to chill overnight in the fridge), and even before it’s cold it tastes good! I omitted the chilli (both red and green) as I thought it might upset my stomach, but added a bit more green onion. Can’t wait for tomorrow now! Thank you so much Maangchi… am off to look at the next recipie of yours I can try! :)

  13. LuccaQ Buffalo,NY joined 6/10 & has 30 comments

    Great summer dish for the hot weather. There wasn’t any red chili at the market so I used a sweet red pepper and it worked very well. Off topic- Oi means cucumber, right? Is it also a name? I have been watching Jumong and there is a character named Oi. Is his name cucumber?

  14. sandyx3 joined 8/10 & has 1 comment

    Hey Manngchi.i’d love to try this soup.but is it okay to not put apple cider vinegar?

  15. eve Germany joined 6/10 & has 4 comments

    aaah this is very similar to the vietnamese sauce “nuoc mam”, we almost dip anything in it :D..its very good with carrots also! (

  16. Hi Maangchi,

    It is very hot and humid right now where I live. I’ll definitely make this cold soup to beat the heat! Usually my mom makes an Indian cucumber and cilantro salad with some authentic seasonings but this looks so tasty to!!! Thanks

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