Cold cucumber soup side dish

Oi-naengguk 오이냉국

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. 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 :)

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

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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 12,047 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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! :)

  7. 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?

  8. 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?

  9. 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! (

  10. 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

  11. unchienne Georgia, USA joined 10/08 & has 15 comments

    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.

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

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