Recipe from David Schuttenberg, Kwei Fei, Charleston
4 english cucumbers, ends trimmed
4 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon MSG
½ cup black vinegar
¼ cup rice vinegar
⅓ cup sliced garlic
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sesame oil
4½ tablespoons doubanjiang
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
Cut cucumbers lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into 1½-inch lengths. Season generously with salt, then place in a large colander and allow to drain for 2 hours.
In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk together salt, sugar, MSG, and vinegars. Set aside.
Place garlic in a nonreactive 4-quart container. To the vinegar mixture, add sesame oil, doubanjiang, and Sichuan peppercorns. Whisk well to emulsify, then pour over garlic.
Check cucumber seasoning; if they’re too salty, rinse under cold water and pat dry. Add cucumbers to marinade and let sit for at least 3 hours before serving, stirring occasionally. (Don’t worry if they aren’t submerged in the marinade initially—they’ll start to break down and become covered as they sit.) Cucumbers can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in marinade in fridge.