Asian faux foods can tickle your fancy when they successfully imitate their real counterparts in looks, texture and flavor. This rendition of Japanese unagi kabayaki is a clever copy. My inspiration came from the feast at Kuan Shih Yin vegetarian restaurant in Taipei. (Japan’s influence on Taiwanese cuisine is a legacy of its fifty-year colonial history).

To impart a delicate, sealike flavor, the chefs mixed dried seaweed into the tofu mixture that formed the eel “flesh.” That brininess is reinforced by the trip of nori that serves as the eel “skin.” The sweet soy sauce glaze further echoes the real deal.

Serve this as a snack or present it atop a big, deep bowl of hot rice for a vegan unagi donburi