Cold cucumber soup side dish

Oi-naengguk 오이 냉국

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)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons 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 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



  1. hcconnie My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 20th, 2015 at 3:48 pm | # |

    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.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 21st, 2015 at 9:35 am | # |

      Yes, I sometimes add seaweed (miyeok) to my oinaengguk, too. Here is the photo of dried miyeok. http://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/miyuk
      I soak it for 30 minutes in cold water and blanch in hot water for 20 to 30 seconds. Then the miyeok will turn bright green. Rinse it in cold water and chop it up and add. Good luck with making oi-miyeok naengguk! : )

  2. ternity My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 14th, 2015 at 4:10 pm | # |

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

    Click for full image

  3. Sharker Cyprus My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted August 28th, 2014 at 3:12 pm | # |

    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?

  4. wittypretty Saudi Arabia My profile page joined 7/14
    Posted July 20th, 2014 at 4:43 pm | # |

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

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 21st, 2014 at 9:28 pm | # |

      yes, it’s a perfect side dish for hot weather like these days. “depression aid” haha!

  5. reesejin corona My profile page joined 4/10
    Posted October 2nd, 2013 at 5:38 am | # |

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

  6. Karaisoke Arizona My profile page joined 10/12
    Posted September 7th, 2013 at 7:39 pm | # |

    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!

  7. SergioD Madrid, Spain My profile page I'm a fan! joined 11/10
    Posted June 2nd, 2012 at 7:31 am | # |

    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 My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 3rd, 2012 at 6:43 pm | # |

      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!

  8. Tarz Las Cruces, NM My profile page joined 8/11
    Posted August 4th, 2011 at 2:58 pm | # |

    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.

  9. seraph74 Sydney, Australia My profile page joined 5/11
    Posted May 16th, 2011 at 4:18 am | # |

    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! :)

  10. LuccaQ Buffalo,NY My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted August 9th, 2010 at 5:53 pm | # |

    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?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 10th, 2010 at 12:00 am | # |

      yes, I sometimes use red bell pepper in my oinaengguk, too. My Thailand friend’s name is oi, too. I tease her,”Cucumber, where have you been!” : )

  11. sandyx3 My profile page joined 8/10
    Posted August 8th, 2010 at 5:40 pm | # |

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

  12. eve Germany My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted July 8th, 2010 at 3:45 pm | # |

    aaah this is very similar to the vietnamese sauce “nuoc mam”, we almost dip anything in it :D..its very good with carrots also! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C6%B0%E1%BB%9Bc_ch%E1%BA%A5m)

  13. koreanfoodfan32 My profile page joined 5/10
    Posted June 19th, 2010 at 2:17 pm | # |

    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

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 20th, 2010 at 2:09 am | # |

      “Indian cucumber and cilantro salad ” it sounds great! I love cilantro!
      Yes, oinaengguk is a perfect side dish for hot summer.

  14. unchienne Georgia, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 10/08
    Posted June 5th, 2010 at 6:35 am | # |

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My mother, who is usually very critical of my cooking, just came home for a visit. I knew she liked cold soup and had a couple of pickling cukes laying around. Whipped this up in no time (added just a scootch less sugar b/c she doesn’t like anything tasting remotely sweet) and served it up. I had been tempted to add more vinegar b/c I’m a vinegar fiend, but I made myself follow everything else to the tea and…..she loved it! Made three comments about how good it was while we were eating. We had other (storebought) banchan on the table, but she ate almost nothing else but her rice and this soup. It felt good to do something for her that she enjoyed.

  15. christina
    Posted September 20th, 2009 at 1:02 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, it looks very nice! I wonder what if I dont have fish sauce? :D

  16. Hope
    Posted July 30th, 2009 at 4:14 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi!
    I’ve made this recipe 2 times before. The first time I used cucumbers, and the second time, I substituted the cucumbers for seaweed. It’s okay that I didn’t cook it right? Eating raw seaweed is okay as long as I washed it well right? o.O
    Anyways, I plan on making this again with both seaweed and cucumbers. The last time I made it, my dad finished all of it! He was surprised when I told him that I made it ;]
    Thanks for this recipe~ I’ll be looking forward to your next recipe that you will share with us!

  17. Kathy
    Posted July 18th, 2009 at 12:22 am | # |

    My family loves your oi-naengguk! My husband is pretty picky about his Korean food and he thought this would be good enough to sell at a restaurant. I also made your naeng-myun this week, and my family loves oi-naengguk so much we use that for mul naeng-myun broth. It’s delicious!

  18. Agasuka
    Posted July 12th, 2009 at 11:01 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    I was practicing driving a stick shift with an empty stomach and no A/C (need to listen to the engine), I was ‘overheated’ that I felt dizzy and my heart of beating rapidly. (>100 degrees here in Arizona)

    I made Oi Naeng guk for supper. It was so refreshing and cooled my body down. I reduced the vinegar into 1 tbs, since I cannot endure much sourness.

    I pre-chopped the garlic and preserved them in oil once the garlic arrived home.
    The oil which sticks to the minced garlic floats on the surface of the naeng guk, which I don’t think it’s pretty. Therefore, I did not take a picture of it.

    I enjoyed the naeng guk, and I’d like to thank you for the recipe.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 13th, 2009 at 12:34 am | # |

      Agasuka, It’s been a long time to hear from you! But I know you are reading my website. : )
      Yes, you chose a perfect side dish to help you recover from dizziness! I should make oinaengguk tomorrow!

  19. Felix
    Posted June 22nd, 2009 at 11:18 pm | # |

    hi maangchi~ i would want to try this with pepper flakes in it. how much should i put in? thanks~~

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 23rd, 2009 at 7:33 am | # |

      I would use 1 ts of hot pepper flakes.
      Mix it well with other ingredients before pouring water into the bowl

  20. Chris
    Posted May 23rd, 2009 at 6:58 pm | # |

    I had some leftover oi naengguk in the fridge, but my wife accidentally put it in the blender! :O It was still very good, though. I think I may even like it better.

  21. Jon Segal
    Posted May 20th, 2009 at 10:07 pm | # |

    I just made the cold cucumber soup and it was excellent not to mention a very fast dish. I love cold sour soups. I frequent a Korean restaurant in the Chicago area called Woo Lae Oak. They often have a cold radish soup that is a clear salty and sour liquid with daikon radish. I love it. Can’t seem to find a recipe for this soup anywhere. Do you have one?

    Thanks for the great recipe! Jon

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 21st, 2009 at 4:38 am | # |

      Great! you like oinaengguk recipe! The water kimchi you tasted in the restaurant must be “dongchimi”. It’s included in the list of my upcoming recipes. Thank you!

  22. Nathan Simpson
    Posted May 8th, 2009 at 3:01 am | # |

    I’m using your recipe to teach English to Korean moms. We’ll see how it goes. We’re going to learn some cooking vocabulary!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 8th, 2009 at 6:07 am | # |

      You must be a good teacher and also interested in cooking!
      Let me know how your class is going. I think your students will have fun during the class!

      • Nathan Simpson
        Posted September 21st, 2009 at 1:36 am | # |

        My class went okay. Recently I made this at home. It’s so easy to make! I love it!

  23. Diane
    Posted April 21st, 2009 at 9:39 pm | # |

    haha, you are so cute in your video!!!
    I can’t wait to try this recipe especially since it’s so hot now and I have lots of cucumbers. =) Hopefully, the “normal” (non-English) variety works as well!
    Thanks for sharing!

  24. beloved
    Posted February 14th, 2009 at 8:30 pm | # |

    I made galbi tonight and made this soup to go with it. It was FANTASTIC! I haven’t had this since I left Korea 6 years ago, but it was just as I remembered. Excellent recipe! Thank you so much. I enjoy all of your recipes and videos and am so grateful to you for all the work you do here! (^o^)

  25. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted December 13th, 2008 at 8:09 pm | # |

    haha, nice! Actually you can put some cooked noodles and eat it as cold noodles.

    Thank you for your nice comment.

  26. Pasi
    Posted December 13th, 2008 at 4:38 pm | # |

    This recipe is a masterpiece, and I can understand the woman! Thanks a lot for sharing. This is Quick, Easy and OH SO GOOD! I combined it with warm sake to create an interesting temperature difference.

  27. Tracy
    Posted December 11th, 2008 at 2:18 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi I just wanted to let you know that I tried this recipe for the first time today and it was delicious the recipe calls for two servings but I found myself eating the whole thing hehe. The flavour reminded me of vietnamese cuisine. I love all your recipes and your videos. Korean food has always been fascinating to me and thanks to your help I can now cook korean right at home for my family! Thanks Maangchi :)

  28. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted November 26th, 2008 at 7:43 am | # |

    anny from Athens,

    adding extra chilly flakes sounds good! : )

  29. anny
    Posted November 26th, 2008 at 6:27 am | # |

    Just wanted to say thank you for the excellent recipes!!!
    I know it’s winter now, but it was a sunny warm day today, and I was doing some gardening. I made this soup, because I needed something refreshing and spicy to pick me up! I added extra red chilly flakes, and it was good!!!

    Keep up the good work Maangchi! Kisses from sunny Athens/Greece!

  30. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted November 21st, 2008 at 11:42 pm | # |

    Yes, you should steam it.

  31. sweetmilky
    Posted November 21st, 2008 at 8:58 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I love to see your cooking videos. You make korean cooking very easy for me^^, At first, I thought preparing korean dish is quite difficult but it’s not. Thanks to you^^,
    bdw, I wonder how would I prepare the eggplant for naengguk. Do I have to boil the eggplant and add it to naengguk or it’s just fresh eggplant?
    Again, congratulations for a job well done Maangchi!^^,

  32. tha
    Posted November 9th, 2008 at 9:51 pm | # |

    Wow Maangchi, thanks so much for the quick reply. I can’t wait till you post your versions of those recipes!!!

  33. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted November 9th, 2008 at 5:27 pm | # |

    oh, the cucumber side dish you had is very easy to make.
    Slice English cucumber thinly and sprinkle some salt. Remove water from the salted cucumber 10 minutes later and squeeze it slightly. In a bowl, put some minced garlic, hot pepper paste and powder, vinegar, sugar and mix it. Then add the sliced cucumber to the bowl and mix it. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and sesame oil.
    My cucumber side dish doesn’t use vinegar. I will post the recipe someday later.

    The recipe for fish cake side dish will be posted later, too.

    Thanks a lot!

  34. tha
    Posted November 9th, 2008 at 3:59 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I love your website!!

    I’m just wondering if you knew the recipe for making a side dish that I see a lot in Korean restaurants. The side dish is cucumbers and it’s sweet and also has red spicy sauce. I think it’s with vinegar and sugar. I keep trying to find the recipe online but I only find the recipe for KIMCHI CUCUMBER, which is NOT the same.

    Also, I love the fishcake that they often serve with the above mentioned side dish. Do you have any recipes for those? Thank you!!! keep up the great work!

  35. Myla
    Posted October 25th, 2008 at 9:30 pm | # |

    thank you very and god bless u ;)

  36. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted October 25th, 2008 at 8:54 pm | # |

    Allo allo Myla!
    You can use either white vinegar or apple vinegar. I love the flavor of apple vinegar.

  37. Myla
    Posted October 25th, 2008 at 8:52 pm | # |

    Hi, thanks for the recipe, but can i use a white vinegar or just an apple vinegar?

  38. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted August 30th, 2008 at 1:18 pm | # |

    oh, interesting! yeah, we always see similar food between different cultures. Thanks!

  39. Jennifer
    Posted August 30th, 2008 at 1:12 pm | # |


    This reminds me of my moms cooking, there’s a thai salad called ” Som tum taeng” using cucumbers it’s the same way to make “oi neanggkok” but you shred the cucumbers and don’t add water or ice cubes.

  40. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted August 24th, 2008 at 7:32 am | # |

    You remind me of one of my blog readers. She said she has changed her diet to Korean food since she found my cooking videos on the internet and lost 75 pounds! I didn’t ask her weight though. : ) Anyway, you asked me to recommend healthy and low cal dish. Why don’t you make seaplant soup (miyuk guk in Korean ) My mother loves the soup. She makes it at least twice a week!

  41. Cloud
    Posted August 24th, 2008 at 4:38 am | # |

    Wow, will try this next time :D Sounds like a low-cal dish, haha. Maangchi, could you recommend me some low-cal dishes I could cook during a diet? I just got interested in Korean cooking, but I really need to lose some weight -_- 제발요~

  42. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted August 21st, 2008 at 10:36 pm | # |

    haha, you got some engergy! : )

  43. Jennifer
    Posted August 21st, 2008 at 4:56 pm | # |

    I just made some and ate it.. I used following this recipe. I left over cucember from a salad I made that I didn’t use. I feel like I have energy from eating it lol My only thing s I forgot to put salt. But it was good! had some thai chili peppers so I used those in the soup too.

  44. http://quietasday.livejournal.com/
    Posted August 21st, 2008 at 3:38 pm | # |

    I will definitely get the right peppers next time. Thanks for the recipe, Maangchi!

  45. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted August 20th, 2008 at 11:39 pm | # |

    As long as you emptied it all, who would care! : ) But next time you should try to follow the recipe exactly.
    You will see the difference.

  46. En
    Posted August 20th, 2008 at 11:13 pm | # |

    I made this in a bad mood today – and now I’m in a good mood! Unfortunately, I was in a pinch. I had to substitute the hot red pepper with red pepper flakes and the green pepper with a couple of chopped green olives. It ended up tasting like olives ^_^ Not bad, overall~~ At least it looked okay!

    …and no one can tell now that I’ve ate it all *ha!ha!*

    I promise I’ll try this with eggplant some time.

  47. vb
    Posted August 10th, 2008 at 12:12 pm | # |

    As long as it is made with fresh, good quality ingredients and proper cooking methods, it is gourmet food to me! And most of all, made with love!!!

  48. John
    Posted August 5th, 2008 at 4:17 am | # |

    Thats soo true!

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