Delicious foods are a significant part of Chinese culture, history and geography, with a long history, unique features, styles and exquisite cooking. Chinese dishes are famous for color, aroma, taste, meaning and appearance. Popular dishes available in most large restaurants around china and popular among both Chinese people and many other people from around the world are Sweet and sour pork, gong bao chicken, mapo tofu, wontons, dumplings, chow mein, Peking duck, and spring rolls. In addition to delicious Chinese offerings, western food is also widely available from familiar fast food restaurants to more fine dining, and for a special evening perhaps a meal in one of the roof top restaurants. Familiar coffee and dessert shops are also frequently found throughout the larger cities.
One of the world’s oldest cultures being thousands of years old, important components of Chinese culture includes ceramics, architecture, music, literature, martial arts, cuisine, visual arts, philosophy and religion. Much of Chinese culture can be seen in countries around the world particularly Chinese food and ceramics.
There are 56 ethnic groups in China with varying customs, with the most populous group being the Han Chinese. With many ethnic groups and being such a populous country China is home to a large number of local dialects, although the universally used language of the country is mandarin, the second most used language Cantonese is used mostly in some southern most provinces.
In terms of literature concepts covered within Chinese classic texts of the zhou dynasty present a wide range of subjects including poetry, astrology, astronomy, calendar, constellations and many others. Some of the most important early texts include the Shujing and the I Ching within the Four Book and Five Classics. The Song dynasty was a period of creation for great scientific literature, history and encyclopedia with the creation of works including Su Song's Xin Yixiang, Shen Kuo's Fayao, Sima Guang's Zizhi Tongjian, Shen Kuo's Fayao or the Four Great Books of Song. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the study of Chinese modern literature has increased over time. Modern literature has supported the formation of modern interpretations of nationhood and creation of a sense of national spirit.
There is an importance placed on numbers in Chinese culture with the importance of a number depending on a word that the number sounds similar to when pronounced. Superstitious aspects of this are thought to have grown from Cantonese Culture, but have planted through other dialects and regional groups of Chinese. Numbers considered lucky include 2 (good things come in pairs) 6 (lucky for business) and 8 (wealthy and prosperous). Unlucky numbers include 4 (associated with the word “death”, buildings generally omit floor numbers with the number 4) and 5 (associated with negative word “not”).
In Chinese culture the colors red, black, qing (green / blue), yellow and white are considered standard colors. These colors correspond to the five elements of water, fire, wood, metal and earth for example Red the color of fire symbolizes good fortune and joy, yellow the color for earth symbolizes neutrality or good luck.