Xiamen is famed for its music, puppet shows, Gezi Opera, and temple celebration events.
As with much of southern China, the staple foods of Xiamen have long been rice, seafood, pork, sweet potatoes, various pickled vegetables, and bok choy. Its traditional dishes form a branch of southern Fujianese cuisine, with Taiwanese influence. It is particularly well known within China for its street food and snacks. A local specialty is worm jelly (t 土笋凍, s 土笋冻, tǔsǔndòng), a gelatin made from a kind of marine peanut worm.
Many famous Chinese musicians hail from Xiamen, including Huang Yujun. It has a philharmonic orchestra. Every May there’s an international music festival, and piano competitions and music festivals are also frequently held. On Huangyan Road on the way to Sunlight Rock, there’s a concert hall where classical concerts are regularly held on weekends.
Xiamen Wushipu oil painting village has been named as “the second of the world oil painting industry base” and the second batch of national cultural (art) industry base” by the China artist association and the culture property department of Culture Ministry.
Xiamen has strong industry advantage in hand-done oil painting, which has two main manufacturing bases here, Xiamen Wushipu Oil Painting Village and Xiamen Haicang Oil Painting Village. 80% market shares in European and American market is taken up by products exported from Xiamen. As the main manufacturing base of hand painted oil painting in China, Xiamen Wushipu Oil Painting Village has more than 5,000 artists. It has the ability to produce all kinds of oil paintings with different specifications and styles. With the support of Xiamen Municipal Government, it has formed a powerful industrial chain, provided related accessories such as frames, brushes and paint
colors and formed stable target customers composed by hotels, villas, high-class departments, galleries and so on. As another mail manufacturing base of oil painting, Xiamen Haicang Oil Painting Village has more than 3,000 painters. The scale of Xiamen Haicang Oil Painting Village has developed rapidly in recent years, which is from originally 28 enterprises to more than 250 enterprises at the moment. The combination of manufacturing, sales and distribution makes it become industrial base of commercial oil painting.
Xiamen is served by Xiamen Media Group, which broadcasts news and entertainment such as movies and television series by AM/FM radio, close circuit television and satellite television. Media in Xiamen were temporarily blocked by the Government in June 2007 when about 10,000 people participated in protests against the building of a paraxylene factory by Tenglong Aromatic PX (Xiamen) Co. Ltd., which is owned by Taiwanese businessman Chen Yu-hao. The incident, however, was solved smoothly later that year.
The local vernacular is Xiamenese (also known as Amoynese), a dialect of Hokkien which is part of the Southern Min languages. Amoy is widely used and understood across the southern region of Fujian province as well as overseas. While it is widely spoken in and around Xiamen, the Amoy dialect has no official status, and the official language of all government business is Mandarin. The English words “Amoy”, “tea” (茶; tê), “cumshaw” (感謝; kám-siā), “pekoe” (白毫; pe̍h-hô), kowtow (磕頭; khàu-thâu), “ketchup” (茄汁; kiô-chap) and possibly “Japan” (日本; Ji̍t-pún), originated from Amoy dialect.
In the 19th century, Xiamen proper had two Dutch Reformed and two LMS churches. Xiamen Island was home to three Dutch Reformed missions at “Kang-thau”, “Kio-than”, and “Chhan-chhu-oa”.