Whenever I eat any Asian dishes, I always have to have some sort of side dish to accompany my entree. Korean barbeque is awesome because of all the sides that are served along with Bulgogi, Sangyupsal or Kalbi--I tend to eat all the sides before the meat is even cooked. Pickled spicy cucumber kimchi and pickled white/yellow radish are my absolute favorites. As you can tell, I have a thing for sour foods (my mom craved for a lot of it when she was pregnant with me). Since I have no idea how to make kimchi, and knowing it's a tedious process, the closest thing that I can make is this marinated Chinese cucumber salad.
300 g (10oz) baby cucumbers
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (I love garlic, hence the 6 cloves)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Just combine the sauce ingredients and toss well with the cucumbers. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours (I find that the longer it's in the fridge, the better it tastes).
Optional: Add some red pepper flakes for a kick.
I love munching on this on its own, or even with some plain steamed rice. It's the best when paired with any Asian savory dishes. It's very flavorful and crunchy -- a mixture of savory, sour, salty and a little sweetness.