My mama came down to Cape Town to visit us (my sister and I) from Bloemfontein a few months ago and we always hit the usual spots. These locations include, Heng Sheng in Sea Point, Tong Lok in Parklands and Taiwan Ballade in Tableview. But, much to my disappointment, Taiwan Ballade had closed down and another restaurant took over.
Other than making authentic Taiwanese food, Taiwan Ballade made our favourite appetiser – lightly pickled cold cucumbers, a Taiwanese cucumber salad. This cucumber dish also had a dash of chilli, tasting both sweet and savoury. The heavenly crisp is ideal for summer. The translation is literally “little cucumber”, but if you said it at any Taiwanese restaurant, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about.
My sister remade the Taiwanese cucumber salad and it tastes exactly the same!
- 1 English cucumber (refrigerated)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsps rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 3 Tbsps thick soy sauce
- 2 chillies
- Slice the cucumber in half and deseed the centre (the majority of a cucumber’s water content is in the centre, once it’s taken out, the rest of the cucumber will maintain its crisp).
- Slice the cucumber up into chunky pieces of 1cm and refrigerate.
- Press the garlic with the side of a knife.
- Separately; mix the salt, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and thick soy sauce together until the sugar melts.
- Chop the chillies into small pieces.
- Add the chillies and garlic into the sauce.
- Toss the cucumber pieces with the sauce.
This dish is more of an appetiser or starter and should only be made right before serving to maintain the crunchiness of the cucumber.
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