Genshin’s Liyue Food
And how it’s been inspired from existing foods
But it’s basically just me ranting abt Chinese food for 25 pages
Adeptus’ Temptation is a clear reference to the real-life dish Buddha’s Temptation. Both Chinese names also reference this: Adeptus’ Temptation is 仙跳墙 (in the context of Genshin, “adeptus jumps over the wall”) and Buddha’s Temptation is 佛跳墙 (Buddha jumps over the wall). It is a Fujianese delicacy only served at special occasions and state banquets.
The description text for "delicious" version says "This dish is a rare and exquisite mix of both land and sea", which refers to the variety of ingredients used in Buddha's Temptation, such as quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, shark fin, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro. Buddha’s Temptation was named one of the most expensive soups in the world owing to its massive and rare ingredient list, although it is also rather controversial due to the use of shark fin.
The story of its origin is disputed; some versions say that the dish was made in a last-ditch attempt by a chef about to be beheaded by his emperor to please him, which ended up attracting monks from a nearby Buddhist temple to jump over the wall and taste the dish; other sources say that it was made by a travelling scholar who kept all of his cooking ingredients in one clay jar used for holding wine. When he cooked, a Buddhist monk was tempted by the scent and jumped over the wall. Regardless, they hold one thread in common: that the dish is so delicious, it entices vegetarian monks to ‘jump over the wall’ and try it.
Almond Tofu contains neither almonds nor tofu. Almonds in the recipe are actually apricot kernels, since both names share the same characters (杏仁 ). Tofu is derived from its similar look to the bean curd, but it’s not actually tofu.
It’s a traditional Beijing street food which also influenced the Japanese annin tofu, made by grinding apricot kernels into paste with water and adding starch to coagulate the mixture into edible pieces that look like tofu. As the in-game description suggests, it’s mildly sweet, has a refreshing taste, and is mainly eaten in the summer as a cooling food.
Two types of apricot kernels are used— ‘south kernels’, which are sweet and mildly fragrant, and ‘north kernels’, which are bitter and more fragrant. South kernels are usually bigger and paler while north kernels are smaller and more yellow. Both types are crushed together to form the paste for the dessert, but north kernels are used much less because they can be poisonous in large quantities.
Bamboo Shoot Soup
Bamboo Shoot Soup is based off the traditional Shanghainese dish 醃篤鮮 Yanduxian, made with three key ingredients: fresh meat, salted meat (both are typically pork), and fresh bamboo shoots. It is then slow-simmered for around three hours to bring out the taste of all three ingredients.
Yanduxian’s etymology is also worth noting: Yan (醃) means cured/salted pork, du (篤) is the sound of boiling soup on low heat, and xian (鮮) is the fresh taste of the dish.
The origin of this dish is a bit of a long story: after the outbreak of Taiping Rebellion (1850-64), a man named Zuo Zongtang (governor of Hangzhou) was tasked with feeding the rioting masses, but didn’t know where to find enough food. One day he passed Hu Xueyan’s house, who was rich. Hu loved to eat ham, and his entire house was hung with ham. Zuo smelled the ham and went to Hu’s house to investigate; Hu saw that the governor himself was visiting him and decided to make his Anhui hometown specialty, Yandunxian (醃燉鮮 / although with ham instead of cured meat), to greet Zuo properly. Zuo was delighted by the dish and they chatted it up; when Hu heard of Zuo’s mission, he agreed to help take care of the issue.
This incident became famous across China, and so did the dish; it became Shanghainese because Zuo was promoted to Shanghai. And for its name? Zuo was from Hunan and had an accent, so he mispronounced Hu’s Yandunxian (醃燉鮮) as Yanduxian (醃篤鮮), hence the name today.
Black-Back Perch Stew
Black-Back Perch Stew (水煮黑背鱸魚 Boiled black-back perch) is likely based on the 水煮魚 or ‘boiled fish’, a variant of 水煮肉片 (boiled meat slices) developed by a Chongqing cook in a cooking competition in 1983. Since then it has enjoyed widespread popularity and been cooked with many fish, although from what I can tell the perch version is one of the most popular fish to cook this with.
The dish is also famed for its spice to compliment the mild taste of the perch, with a complimentary saying of “numbing to the extreme, spicy to the point of addiction”. Xiangling’s special version of the dish may point to its (disputed) Sichuan origins, as the style closely resembles the perch stew popular in Sichuan.
Bountiful Year is quite clearly based on yusheng (魚生 or in yu saang in Cantonese, literally “raw fish”), a Cantonese-style raw fish salad also named “Prosperity Toss”. It’s usually strips of raw fish mixed with vegetables and eaten with a variety of sauces and condiments. It generally includes ingredients such as shredded white and green radish and carrots, ginger slices, onion slices, crushed peanuts, pomelo, pepper, essence of chicken (雞精), oil, salt, vinegar, sugar, etc. Sometimes it will also be called lo sahng (撈生) in Cantonese, in the tradition of tossing it up in the air to obtain more fortune.
The character for “fish” 「魚」is a homophone for the character for “abundance” 「余」, which means the dish’s name is often conflated with the word for “increase in abundance” (余升, also yusheng), and is therefore considered a symbol of abundance and prosperity; this is why it is often served during Chinese New Year.
The origin for this dish is extremely disputed; the pre-modern version of the dish may be modified off fish noodles served in Guangdong, China, while Malaysia and Singapore have competing claims as to how the modern yusheng came into being. It is listed as an Intangible Heritage Object in Malaysia. Nowadays, you will typically find it served in Chinese diaspora communities in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and sometimes in Hong Kong as well.
For all the auspicious associations of the ingredients, check here.
Chicken Tofu Pudding
Chicken Tofu Pudding (Chicken Tofa, a shortened form of Tofu Pudding) is based on a real-life food with the same name. Like Almond Tofu, this dish once again does not actually contain tofu; the chicken is shredded to bits and egg white is added to make its consistency similar to tofa.
Tofa is a distinctly Taiwanese food, but chicken tofa is a famous traditional dish from Sichuan Cuisine. There’s a distinct saying associated with it: “Eat chicken but see no chicken, it’s not like chicken meat, but coincidentally it is like chicken meat; it triumphs over [real] chicken meat.” Silky smooth with a dissolving texture, it’s considered somewhat of a national treasure.
Chili-Mince Cornbread Buns
Chili-Mince Cornbread Buns, also known as Spicy Pork Wotou in Chinese, is based on the eponymous dish wotou (窩頭), literally meaning ‘nest head’ (said to resemble a bird’s nest from to the hollow bun). Wotou is a type of steamed bread from northern China made out of cornmeal, though it used to be made out of glutinous rice in the Ming Dynasty (more on that in the Rice Bun section). While it can be eaten empty, wotou can be filled with things such as buckwheat, mung beans, soybeans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, dried grapes etc. Here, Xiangling fills it with spicy pork.
The modern wotou is said to have an amusing origin story (though its precursor originated much earlier in the Ming Dynasty). Historical context: in 1900, the Boxer Rebellion broke out in China, which was an anti-foreign, anti-colonial, and anti-Christian uprising, and the Boxers laid siege to Beijing (then Peking) in protest. Many Western powers stationed nearby felt threatened, and thus formed the Eight-Nation Alliance to lift the siege on Beijing. Current reigning Empress Dowager Cixi had to flee the capital as she had previously issued orders in support of the Boxers.
It was on the road that they ran out of food and came upon a peasant carrying some wotou (it was usually commoner’s food at that time). Cixi was starving and so she asked for one, and the peasant gave it freely; upon biting into it she was overwhelmed by how delicious it was. After the Boxer Rebellion and Eight-Power intervention affairs were settled and Cixi was back in Beijing, she missed the taste of the wotou, so she asked the palace chefs to make it for her again, but it wasn’t to her taste and she ended up killing a few of the chefs. The chefs, ruminating bitterly that she had only thought the wotou was tasty because she was extremely hungry at the time, eventually changed the wotou to cornmeal and added sugar to make it sweeter. Cixi loved this new version and proclaimed it ‘Royal Steamed Wotou’ (the royalty part accentuated by the golden yellow of cornmeal, which gave it a nickname ‘Golden Tower’), which spread in popularity, as all things endorsed by the monarchy do, and became the modern wotou eaten today. 
Come and Get It
Come and Get It (來來菜, literally “come come dish”) is based on a Hong Kong dish called “Poon Choi”, which could be roughly translated as “Basin Dish”. It typically includes a variety of meats and seafoods, such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken, abalone (real), shrimp, squid, fishballs, eel, crab, and prawn. Miscellaneous additions include pork rind, tofu (bean curd), white radishes, and mushrooms.
As you can probably tell from the ingredient list, it’s a very fulfilling meal. It’s typically only served at festivals or large family gathering