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Video Game / The Tale of Food

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The all-boy answer to Food Fantasy, the Chinese answer to Touken Ranbu.

Shíwùyǔ (食物语 "food story") is a Chinese turn-based mobile battle game developed by Tencent, released on September 3, 2019. It is set in a China where its dishes manifest good-looking male Anthropomorphic Personifications known as "food spirits" (食魂). Long ago, the "food deity" Yī Zhì (伊挚) built a place called Kòngsāng (空桑) to house and protect food spirits, whom he formed pacts with in the titular Tale of Food. However, Kòngsāng is then destroyed by Yi Ya, head steward of the Realm of Melanya who plans to usurp the throne from him for his master. As Kòngsāng burns, the Tale of Food becomes corrupted, threatening to turn all the food spirits into demons. The player, taking up the role of the food deity's child, a.k.a. the young master of Kòngsāng (空桑少主) and next in line as food deity, having little power to undo the corruption, destroys the Tale of Food, breaking all the spirits' contracts, erasing their memories of their life, and sending them back to their origins to save them from becoming demons. With Kòngsāng in ruins, the young master is on a quest to rebuild the place, reunite the food spirits, and defeat evil.

A Singapore/Malaysia localization opened on May 27, 2020. A Japanese localization, complete with dubbing, opened on Nov 3, 2020 and closed on Apr 7, 2023. Later, an global localization with English dub was released on April 19, 2023.


  • Always Accurate Attack: The 100% Hit buff, which ignores the enemy's Dodge stat and ensures the user's attacks hit. Conversely, there's also the Locked debuff, which nullifies the affected's Dodge stat.
  • Anachronism Stew: Kòngsāng houses food spirits from all eras across Chinese history, and humans from any era can visit and eat there.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • There are mechanics that guarantee an SSR after a certain number of summons.
    • After an event finishes a rerun and thus is gone for good, the food spirit introduced in that event will be added to permanent summoning pool in a later update.
    • Cooking Contests allow you to quickly participate in them without engaging in combat, without altering your ranking, and gives out a set amount of peaches. This allows players to get the rewards should their opponents be too difficult to defeat.
    • After clearing a battle once, the Fight On option is available to use, allowing you to autopilot the battle repeatedly until you either use up all your stamina, or after a set number of runs.
  • Bathtub Scene: One can purchase bath tubs or ponds to place in the guest rooms, where your spirits can bathe.
  • But Not Too Foreign: As the game is about Chinese cuisine, localization-exclusive dishes would have Chinese origins.
  • Cast of Personifications: Most recurring characters are personifications of Chinese dishes.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: All food spirits are male, scattered everywhere on the male attractiveness spectrum. The young master themself counts as one of them if they're male.
  • Death Is Cheap: It is hard to kill a food spirit – slain spirits can always be resurrected if their dishes still survive in culinary tradition, albeit with loss of memory and some alterations in personality. The only way for them to be Killed Off for Real is for the dish to be forgotten by humanity and no longer prepared.
    • Averted with the young master's death; a whole arc is dedicated to bringing their soul back from hell.
  • Downer Beginning: The game starts off with the bad guys winning: they wreck Kòngsāng and break the pacts of all food spirits living there.
  • Family of Choice: Food spirits are literally never biologically related to anyone, so any family relations among them or between them and humans and other beings are assumed.
  • Foreign Language Title: The game's title is actually in Japanese; the term 物語 is borrowed from Japanese and only used to describe stories in Japanese contexts.
  • Go-to-Sleep Ending: All food spirits have a (real-time) schedule; when placed into guest rooms, they will go to sleep when it is late night in real time depending on the server's locale.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: Kòngsāng staff, including the young master, wears white uniforms with gold and brown motifs to reflect their divinity.
  • God Needs Prayers Badly: Food spirits need humanity to remember and keep their dishes alive in order to keep existing. Forgotten dishes are Killed Off for Real.
  • Historical Domain Character: Many are featured as secondary and background characters.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: The game uses Live2D, meaning sprites are always smoothly and constantly animated.
  • Immortality Through Memory: This is how Food Spirits live; as long as the dish they embody is alive through tradition, then the spirit lives on. Otherwise, they will die if their dish becomes forgotten and lost to time. Peach Petal Congee in "Spring Nimbus" comes close being forgotten, as his dish is all but a dead tradition by the Ming Dynasty. He thankfully avoids this, as Longjing Shrimp manages to give new life and tradition to peach congee as a gift from the God of Spring.
  • In Spite of a Nail: It's stated that it's extremely hard, if not impossible, to change history in this universe despite all the time-travelling, as history always finds a way to "correct itself".
  • Little Bit Beastly: Food spirits with animal ears, wings, horns or tails are not uncommon
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Many and varied, often on spirits of dishes originating before the Republican Era.
  • Mythical Motifs:
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: If there are not enough beds for all food spirits in a guest room, ones without beds to sleep on will fall asleep on the floor.
  • One-Gender Race: All food spirits are male.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Merfolk in this universe resembles humans with fish parts and doesn't seem to have trouble breathing in air.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The whole plot: Kòngsāng gets destroyed by the bad guys and food spirits already living there lose their memories and get sent back to their era and place of origin. The player character's goal is to get everyone back, plus taking in new spirits along the way.
  • Random Number God: The game has a card collecting mechanic, which means gacha is in play. Collectible food spirits are assigned rarity, as are equipment, and getting those things at higher rarity is difficult.
  • Rubber-Band History: Changing history is stated to be impossible in this universe despite Time Travel being prominent.
  • Shown Their Work: The game boasts an in-depth display of Chinese cuisine and culture.
  • Space Whale Aesop:
    • Food waste is bad, because throwing away food turns it into monsters.
    • Keep culinary traditions alive, lest their pretty boy personifications fade away and die.
  • Super-Deformed: Characters are represented as chibi in battle, farming, kitchen and home. The first one can lead to much dissonance with the serious battle mechanics and graphics.
  • Temporary Online Content: Any new food spirit has a limited release period, after which they're out of the summoning pool until their event reruns. After the rerun, the spirit is added to permanent summoning pool.
  • Time Travel: Kòngsāng's society consists of food spirits across time, so the young master and their companions must travel to places of different eras to reform the spirits' contracts.
  • Version-Exclusive Content:
    • Bone Tea and Black Pepper Crab, who were introduced in the SG-MY version first.
    • Fucha Ryōri and Chili Shrimp, JP first.
    • The Cells at Work! crossover is also JP-exclusive.
  • Video-Game Lives: Normally, the team is given 4 lives each level. Every time a food spirit's HP reaches 0, a life can be sacrificed to revive them. Getting food spirits knocked out after lives run out will get them removed from the battle.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Food spirits have a wide range of hair colors, from black, red, blond, to pink, blue, orange.