Sweet and sour is a generic term that encompasses many styles of sauce, cuisine and cooking methods. It has long been popular in North America and Europe, where it is stereotypically considered a component of standard Chinese cuisine. It does in fact originate from China, and is now also used in some American (including American Chinese cuisine) and European cuisines. Western cultures use sweet and sour sauce in two different ways. Dishes can either include the sauce as an ingredient in cooking or use the sauce as a pour-over or dipping sauce for the meal.