This post is also available in: 日本語
Ensuring the Sustainability of Japanese Food Culture
On May 15, 2023, Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd. announced the successful development of “Plant-Based Unagi,” a dish that replicates the texture, appearance, and flavor of “grilled eel” without using any animal-derived ingredients.
Background of The Product Development
The “Nihon Unagi”, a highly esteemed delicacy, is facing critical endangerment as designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), leading to concerns regarding its sustainability.
Although comprehensive aquaculture technologies exist for cultivating eels, the practical implementation has been hindered by cost-related challenges. Currently, reliance on natural resources remains inevitable.
Acknowledging the potential risk of losing Japan’s food culture intertwined with eel consumption, Nissin Foods has developed a solution.
The Process of Replicating Unagi
To create the “Plant-Based Unagi,” the dough is divided into three layers: the “white meat layer,” the “intermediate layer,” and the “skin layer.” The “white meat layer” predominantly incorporates granulated soy protein to achieve a soft and fibrous texture. The “intermediate layer” replicates the indulgent and creamy texture of the fatty section between the eel’s flesh and skin, achieved through the inclusion of vegetable oils. Furthermore, the “skin layer” recreates the unique black hue of eel skin by incorporating bamboo charcoal powder.