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Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then into 1-inch pieces. Place the pieces cut-side down down on a cutting board. Working with a few pieces at a time, lay the broad side of a wide chef's knife or cleaver on top of the cucumbers, and carefully use the palm of your free hand to smash down lightly on the blade. The pieces should crack and split open, leaving more surface area for the seasonings to flavor them.
Place the smashed cucumbers in a shallow bowl and sprinkle them evenly with the salt. Set aside until cucumbers release water, 20 to 30 minutes. (Persian cucumbers may not release much.)
When the cucumbers are done brining, drain off any water that has collected. Stir in 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon soy sauce, and red pepper flakes (or red finger chili pepper slices) if using. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour. Tip for Success: The salad will taste better with more time, so if time allows, refrigerate and marinate for 6 hours or longer to let the flavors develop.