This term is used to describe dishes that have a flavor balanced between sweet and pungent, usually accomplished by combining sugar and vinegar. The flavor is often incorporated into a sauce or dressing that can be served with meat, fish or vegetables. The Chinese are famous for their sweet-and-sour specialties and the Germans are noted for their delicious sweet-and-sour cabbage dishes.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.