Genshin: Liyue Food Cultural Inspirations

Genshin's Liyue Food and its possible real-world influences

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Genshin: Liyue Food Cultural Inspirations

Genshin's Liyue Food and its possible real-world influences

games, Genshin Impact, food

Genshin’s Liyue Food

And how it’s been inspired from existing foods

But it’s basically just me ranting abt Chinese food for 32 pages

Adeptus’ Temptation

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 (part of Min Cuisine) 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.[1] 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

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.[2]

Bamboo Shoot Soup

Bamboo Shoot Soup is based off the traditional Shanghainese dish 醃篤鮮 Yanduxian[3], 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 (specifically Jinhua ham), du (篤) is the sound of boiling soup on low heat, and xian (鮮) is the umami of the dish.

The origin of this dish is a bit of a long story[4]: 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”[5]. 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

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.[6]

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.

Braised Meatball

Braised Meatball「紅燒肉圓」 or 「紅燒獅子頭」(Braised Lion’s Head)

Encompassing Gladness「四喜圓滿」 or 「四喜丸子」(Sixi Balls)

There’s a reason I’ve separated the two sets of images, because they’re technically the same dish but not really.

First of all, the base dish Braised Meatball is strikingly similar to Lion’s Head, a dish from Huaiyang Cuisine (see the Stir-Fried Shrimp section for details of Huaiyang Cuisine) of stewed meatballs. The variation here is called 紅燒 “red-braised�� because it is cooked with soy sauce, giving it a richer flavour. It’s supposedly called Lion’s Head because it resembles the head of a Chinese guardian lion. Like the description and ingredients says, it is minced pork mixed with bamboo shoots (sometimes this is tofu or water chestnuts) and braised in soy sauce. This is traditionally considered a ‘southern’ dish, even though it originates in Eastern China, and is most traditionally eaten in times of celebration, like at banquets.

Xianyun’s specialty, Encompassing Gladness, seems to base itself on the northern variant or cousin to Lion’s Head, the Sixi Balls or ‘Braised Pork Balls in Gravy’ from Lu Cuisine. In Chinese this is made more obvious: Encompassing Gladness is 四喜圓滿 / Sixi Wanman, meaning “four gladnesses are harmonious”, supposedly representing the four joys of Fortune (福), Prosperity (祿), Longevity (壽), and Happiness (喜). It is basically made of the same ingredients and with the same processes as Lion’s Head, but with four meatballs instead of one. The Sixi Balls have their own origin story, however. In one of the state exams of the Tang Dynasty, Zhang Jiuling, a clever peasant from a remote village achieved top marks, and as a reward for his intellect, the Emperor wedded him to one of his daughters and he thus became the Emperor’s son-in-law. At that time, Zhang Jiuling’s village was flooded and his mother and father were forced to flee, with no word as to their whereabouts. On the day of Zhang’s wedding, he received word of where his parents were and immediately sent for them. Celebrating this, Zhang instructed a chef to create an auspicious dish, which turned out to be the ‘Four Yuan’ (圓, lit. ‘round’ but also meaning ‘goodness’): the first for Zhang making top marks in the state exam, the second for getting married, the third becoming the ideal son-in-law of the Emperor, and the fourth, reuniting with his family. Zhang therefore called them the Four ‘Xi’ (gladness) instead, and that’s how the Sixi Balls were invented as a dish for auspicious occasions.

I want to point out that both Braised Meatball and Encompassing Gladness’ names, in Chinese, contains the word 圓 / yuan (紅燒肉圓 / 四喜圓滿), as well as the original name of the Sixi Balls on which Encompassing Gladness is based (四圓). This is important for the theming of when this dish released in Version 4.4; please go onto the Fine Tea, Full Moon section to learn why the appearance of this word is important.

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[7].

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, i

Genshin: Liyue Food Cultural Inspirations
Tags Games, Genshin Impact, Food
Type Google Doc
Published 02/05/2024, 12:31:50


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