After eating a super-delicious tofu hotpot at a local Chinese joint (so good that I order it every time, in spite of my heavily carnivorous leanings), I managed to beg from them the secret of how they get the tofu so crisp, spongy, and meat-like-- They drain it well, freeze it overnight, thaw, and cook.
I've tried it many times myself, and once you freeze it, the dense firm tofu ends up with a lot of small holes in it, kind of a like a soy-sponge. Once you squeeze out the moisture (again, just like a sponge), you can marinate it in a matter of seconds. Lightly dust slices in cornstarch and pan-fry; the difference between un-frozen tofu and previously-frozen is nothing short of miraculous.
Has anyone out there tried this? Have I actually come across some new information, or am I about to be link-bombed with a dozen recipes where Kenji does this? =p