When I lived in Hong Kong and travelled to China for business, I was introduced to a kind of cucumber pickle that was served cold just before the meal started. These would be placed at the centre of the table alongside a plate full of whole raw garlic cloves and people would munch their way through them, like they were snacking on peanuts. I didn't like the whole raw garlic much, but the cucumber pickle was sweet, vinegar-ey and crunchy, and I love that combination!
This side dish has a very high garlic content, but the heat from this, plus the acidity from the vinegar completely brings this cucumber out of its shy little fruit body and transforms it from boringly neutral to exotically addictive!!
This is a slight variation of the traditional Chinese version, in that I have added some fish sauce to it. You can omit this and the chillies if you wish, but a little heat works really well against the cool of the cucumber!