The Third Generation Taste

The Third Generation Taste

Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro in Singapore was awarded two stars in the Michelin Guide Singapore in 2016, but the culinary heritage goes way back to 1958 in Japan.

Stepping into Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro’s main dining hall, guests can be expected to have an initial reaction of amazement. The striking elegance of the fully carpeted room – with dark wooden panels that go straight from the floor to the high ceiling and the parade of opulent chandeliers hanging from it – goes very well with the promise of soon savouring the Szechuan delicacies. In an inconspicuous corner of the restaurant is the bar lounge, perfect for an aperitif session before the real feast begins. Ensconced on Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s 35th floor, Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro also serves unrivalled views of the fast-paced city from above.

For those who are not familiar with the Shisen Hanten legacy, the story started in 1958 when Chen Kenmin – dubbed the Father of Szechuan cuisine in Japan – opened the first Szechuan restaurant in the country. His son, Chen Kenichi – also known as the Szechuan Sage – is one of Japan’s most respected iron chefs, and the man who expanded the family business all over Japan before passing the torch to his son, Chen Kentaro. As the third generation, Chen Kentaro proudly presents Szechuan goodness to Singapore, along with his take on traditional Cantonese cuisine.

Expect a selection of Szechuan spicy fare at Shisen Hanten like the aromatic stewed fish fillet in super spicy Szechuan pepper sauce, to name one. Other must-try dishes include Chen’s original spicy noodle soup – Chef Kentaro’s homage to the traditional springy yellow noodles in spicy sauce and sesame paste known as dan dan mian and also sautéed Szechuan chilli pepper and chicken with its special thin coating made from Hokkaido potato flour. Having said that, milder palates shouldn’t fret as the level of spiciness here can be adjusted based on request.

A visit to Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro wouldn’t be complete without trying Chen’s famous mapo doufu. The recipe has been passed down for generations and perfected over time. Before being cooked in a spicy doubanjiang sauce – which has been fermented for over three years – the tofu is initially boiled in hot water, so that it results in significantly soft and silky tofu.

The dishes that Shisen Hanten serves will not be strange to discerning Asian palates, giving the whole dining experience a homely, familiar touch. While at the same time, the ambience of the restaurant is polished and buffed, taking the Asian taste to a whole new level.



  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 80g ground pork
  • 1 garlic sprout
  • 2tbs vegetable oil
  • 1tbs Chinese chilli paste (doubanjiang)
  • 1tsp sweet noodle sauce (tianmianjiang)
  • 2tsp fermented black beans (douchi), minced
  • 1tbs cayenne pepper
  • 1tbs chilli oil
  • 180ml soup stock
  • 1tbs sake
  • 1tsp soy sauce
  • a dash of salt
  • 2tbs starch paste
  • 2tbs vegetable oil
  • 1tsp ground Szechuan pepper (hua jiao fen)


  1. Cut tofu from side into two halves of equal thickness. Dice halves into 2-centimetre cubes and boil in salted water until firm. Set aside. Mince white part of garlic sprout and cut green leaves into bite-size pieces.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok and add ground pork. Cook at high heat until crispy and crumble. Add the doubanjiang, sweet noodle sauce, black beans, cayenne and half of chilli oil and stir-fry.
  3. Drain water from tofu and add to sautéed meat mixture. Add soup stock and white part of garlic sprout. Simmer, while mixing occasionally. Add mixture of sake, soy sauce, a dash of salt and remaining chilli oil gradually to taste. Sprinkle in green part of garlic sprout.
  4. Add starch paste and turn heat to medium. Stir slowly until sauce thickens and add vegetable oil. Serve in a serving dish.