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Hong Kong is frequently described as a place where East meets West, a meeting reflected in its economic infrastructure, education and street culture. On one street corner, there may be traditional Chinese shops selling Chinese herbal medicine, Buddhist paraphernalia or bowls of synthetic shark fin soup. But around the next, one may find theatres showing the latest Hollywood blockbuster, an English-style pub, a Catholic Church or a McDonald's. The region's official languages are Chinese and English; signs in both languages are omnipresent throughout Hong Kong. The government, police and most workplaces and stores conduct business bilingually. British rule may have ended in 1997 but Western culture is deeply ingrained in Hong Kong and coexists seamlessly with traditional philosophy and practices of the Orient.


The city's cosmopolitan flavour can also be seen in the wide variety of cuisines available. While different varieties of Chinese selections, especially seafood, are most popular, there are also many European, American, Japanese, Korean, and other restaurants. Ethnic dishes served in cha chaan teng's and dai pai dong's are also popular. The people of Hong Kong take their food seriously and many top chefs make their way to the city to show off their talents to these discerning diners.


While Hong Kong is a global centre of trade, perhaps one of the city's most famous exports is its entertainment industry, particularly in the martial arts genre. Several Hollywood performers originate from Hong Kong cinema—Bruce Lee, Chow Yun-Fat, Jackie Chan to name a few. Behind the camera, Hong Kong filmmakers have also struck fortune in Hollywood such as John Woo, Wong Kar-wai, Tsui Hark and martial arts choreographers who have designed fight scenes in the Matrix trilogy, Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Back in Hong Kong, several homegrown films have also gained international recognition such as Chungking Express, Infernal Affairs, Shaolin Soccer, Rumble in the Bronx and In the Mood for Love. Acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has said he's strongly influenced by Hong Kong action cinema. Hong Kong is also the world's main hub for Cantopop music. While the territory has been home to many stars, karaoke culture is also part of Hong Kong's nightlife.


The Hong Kong government also supports cultural institutions such as the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Furthermore, the government's Leisure and Cultural Services Department also subsidise and sponsors international performers brought to Hong Kong.




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