6 Seasonal Summer Vegetables for Getting Your Health On

By Sophie Steiner

Perusing the wide, pulsing halogen lit aisles of impeccably sterile Western grocery stores may seem appealing at first – each item in copacetic order – but the shiny veneer of having every fruit and vegetable at your fingertips year-round quickly flakes away, revealing mealy apples, soggy strawberries, and tasteless tomatoes.

Instead, we've grown to love the Asian wet market – the renao chaos of it all as shopkeepers beckon passersby with a wedge of melon, a plump cucumber, delicate tufts of Shanghainese bok choy, a free fistful of scallions.

The aisle's colors change with the rotation of the season, yet regardless of freezing rain or sweltering humidity, the same valiantly high stacks still line the narrow walkways, showcasing produce so fresh it's still speckled in dirt from being unearthed just a few hours prior. 

Vendors bundle in down jackets during winter, their breath leaving a wisp of white steam in the air as they call out the price – san kuai wu yi jin, song gei ni xiang cai.

Thick layers are swapped for the 'Beijing bikini' in summer, sweat dripping down foreheads just as condensation leaves a glossy sheen on aubergine skin of just-purchased, rotund eggplant, shopkeeper and veg alike – tummy out and exposed to the world.

Swing by often enough, and you'll start receiving cooking advice, "This type of bean is perfect for stir-frying with pork," or "this shan yao pairs well with sweet blueberries."