Akasaka Szechwan Restaurant, or Shisen Hanten as it is popularly known in Japan, was started in 1958 by the late Chen Kenmin who is regarded as Japan’s “Father of Szechwan Cuisine.”
Born in the Szechwan province of China, Chen Kenmin perfected his craft in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China before settling in Yokohama, Japan. Capitalising on his culinary expertise in Chinese food, he worked his way to become a culinary legend in Japan. His vision was to “make Shisen Hanten customers truly appreciate Szechwan food through all the five senses.” He passed down his legacy to his eldest son, Chen Kenichi, who himself earned wide acclaim as one of Japan’s most celebrated iron chefs.
Nicknamed “The Szechwan Sage,” Chen Kenichi expanded the family business, branching out across Japan and imbuing his personal touch to the Shisen Hanten brand by incorporating fresh new ideas into the menu offerings. His signature dishes emphasised the seven basic flavours that give Szechwan food that distinct boldness, namely – sour, pungent, hot, sweet, bitter, aromatic, and salty.