Munakata Japanese Buffet @ Life Centre, Jalan Sultan Ismail


**Nov 2001 update: Life Centre is undergoing major renovations but Munakata is still open for business as usual.

About a year ago I went to Munakata‘s Japanese Buffet and I was happy with their authentic Japanese dishes served in the ala-carte buffet. Since then I have been to a couple of Japanese buffets with some even in Singapore.
Speaking from personal experiences I found that although the number of dishes served in Munakata is less compared to the rest, their food quality is hard to beat because they are fresh and only prepared upon order. This is especially true for the cooked food, Teppanyaki and Sashimi (albeit only Salmon Sashimi is available in Munakata)


I am also glad that there were no complaints on Munakata since it was posted, while the others were still bombarded with bad experiences and comments every now and then (eg. Tenji). Recently, Munakata updated their ala-carte buffet menu by removing some unpopular items according to customer feedbacks and introduced some new dishes. So I thought it is a high time for me to revisit to try the new dishes while keeping in check the food quality.


Starting with the new items, Yakinasu No Nikumiso Kaka (Japanese style grilled brinjal topped with minced chicken meat & soya bean paste) Despite being grilled to a soft and tender bite, the eggplants were still able to be picked up and held as a whole using chopsticks, while the toppings actually resembled sambal minus the spiciness.


The second new dish could be considered premium since it’s Cod Fish (Gindara Teriyaki) we are talking about. And imagine you could actually have unlimited servings of this expensive fish at Munakata, which is grilled and coated with sweet Teriyaki sauce. I found the cod to be top fresh and you could still taste its natural sweetness (not because of the soya sauce).

Enoki No Gyuniku Maki

Enoki No Gyuniku Maki (Grilled sliced beef rolled with fresh straw mushroom) was a fair dish.


Niku Jyaga (Stewed beef with potatoes) had a strong but good flavor.


I am not too fond of Udon but I have to say the Kitsune Udon (Hot broth wheat noodles with fried bean curd) was surprisingly enjoyable for me thanks to the flavorful and delicious broth. The Udon is worth trying just for the broth alone.


Sake Chazuke (Salmon tea porridge) is a popular traditional Japanese dish usually eaten as a light meal or snack. Like the name suggests, it only involves pouring hot tea or broth over rice with toppings like salmon flakes and nori (seaweed) It is best savored while still hot before the rice gets soggy, and before the tea turns cold. The flavor is very mild but at least it’s healthy.


The six dishes mentioned above are the new items in Munakata’s ala carte buffet. Among them, I would say the cod fish and Udon are my top favorites. Then there’s also the salmon sashimi that is no doubt the food I like the most at Munakata. Cut into thick slices and tasted so fresh, I think I had four to five servings to myself.


The Nigiri Sushi is topped with slices of salmon from the sashimi so it was fresh and delicious too.


Shishamo – the fish that can be eaten whole and full of crunchy roes.


Soft Shell Crab Tempura is another worthy dish to order here for its value.


Niwatori No Tatsuta Age (Japanese tatsuta age style deep-fried chicken) has improved since my last visit, the skin felt crispier and the meat was juicy.


Same for the Yakitori (Barbecued skewered chicken), they were coated with more Teriyaki sauce now making them more flavorful and tastier.


I didn’t order the Kakiage (Mixed vegetables fried in batter) during my last visit because I thought it would be nothing special. Turned out I was mistaken, this simple dish comprising strips of different vegetables was enjoyably crunchy, like having a snack.


Sadly, the grilled scallops (Hotate No Butter Shoyu Yaki) was a bit off that day being slightly overcooked resulting in a rather mushy texture instead of springy.


For tempura lovers there’s Tempura Moriawase (Assorted seafood & vegetables in batter) that included a large prawn, a piece of fish fillet and eggplant.


Furai Moriawase (Mixed seafood Tempura) is quite similar to the tempura but have a crunchy breaded coating and sweet vinegar sauce is used for the dipping. I actually preferred the normal seafood tempura to this.


Seafood Tofu Isobe Age (deep fried seafood bean-curd with seaweed)


Although the Japanese Beef Steak was nothing really impressive, the chunky beef pieces were tender to the bite and not chewy at all.


There are only two types of desserts at Munakata and I highly recommend the homemade green tea ice cream topped with red beans. The slightly gritty texture indicates that the ice cream is made with plenty of green tea and not with artificial flavorings instead.
Munakata is currently having a gift voucher promotion where customers will get a RM10 Munakata Gift Voucher for every RM100 spent in a single receipt. This promotion will be valid until 31st December 2010. The pricing has been revised as well so please refer to the newest price structure as follow.

Japanese Restaurant Munakata
Mezzanine Floor, Life Centre,
No. 20, Jalan Sultain Ismail,
Kuala Lumpur 50250, Kuala Lumpur
GPS Coordinates: N3 09.215 E101 42.518

Promotion Date : 1 Aug to 31 Dec 2010 ( Dinner only)
Mon to Wed : RM60++(Adult) RM35++ (4 to 10 years old)
Thu to Sat : RM70++(Adult) RM45++ (4 to 10 years old)

Business Hours: Lunch: 12.00noon ~3.00pm
Dinner: 6.30pm ~11.00pm
Closed for Lunch on Public Holidays (SUNDAY CLOSED)
Tel: 03-21667441 Fax: 03-21667825

Leave a comment:


  1. VK, you’re being dishonest to say there has been no complaints since your posting. I posted a complaint about seeing a cockroach in my lunch time order of some ramen.

    But you spiked my comment.

    • hi JD, there are three more Japanese buffets I would like to cover actually.. namely Xenri, Rakuzen and Umai-ya

      And more a high end one, it’s going to be Mizu at TTDI

    • Agree that some of their food is prepared quite salty, staying very true to the authentic Japanese recipes. Some chefs are quite bull headed when it comes to this.. they will not budge to reduce the seasoning even when requested to do so lol

  2. im not a person that like japanese food (its might due to i havent taste yet actually )–im heard sum1 said is served raw & halfly cooked but sinced im read thru ur journey make me thinking twice…!!tq!
    .-= lynn´s last blog ..wah ngantoknya =-.

    • hi lynn, I had the same thought as you last time before I tried Japanese food. In fact it took a few years for me to really appreaciate sashimi. The freshness is very important, as that’s the thing that makes all the difference. Please don’t go to Sushi King for sashimi because you will surely be disappointed :)

  3. hmm…yummy!! d food items look niCe..

    but out of all, i have 2 say that my fav will be the tempuRa disHes…plus, i don’t eat sashimi…ehehe..^^

    Looking 4ward 2 ur nxt poSt, vKeOng..

  4. Next time give me a buzz before you go food tasting lar… Gotta make a reservation and go there again since there are new stuffs.

  5. picture taken, were totally different as the one i saw in the restaurant itself. do they purposely serve you in a nicer dressing? so that the picture taken will be nicer.
    or their service had gone down?

  6. #18 written by annonymous

    picture taken, were totally different as the one i saw in the restaurant itself. do they purposely serve you in a nicer dressing? so that the picture taken will be nicer.
    or their service had gone down?

    I agreed, we spend about RM 250 for 3 person dinner buffet on 26 Sep 2010.
    The food portion is damnnnnnnnnnnn small & also not fresh !!!
    Taste suck !!!

    For each portion of food, they provide :
    1> Salmon Sashimi , come with only 3 small pieces O_O
    2> Yakinasu No Nikumiso Kaka , come with 2 small pieces O_O
    3> Cod Fish (Gindara Teriyaki) come with only 1 piece
    4>Enoki No Gyuniku Maki, totally out, come with something not fresh & small portion
    5> Kitsune Udon , very small portion
    6>Shishamo- come with 2 pieces, not fresh, very smelly O_O
    7> Sake Chazuke – small portion & the salmon inside is not fresh, the salmon inside is become salty fish already, so salty !!!
    8> Soft Shell Crab Tempura, come with 1/4 of the soft shell crab.
    9> grilled scallops , lousy quality , give us cheao scallops & the way they cook, suck !!

    RM70 ? plz !!! RM 50 also i will not go !!
    I rather spend RM80 for kampachi for sunday lunch buffet which is only next door!!
    The quality not fight but price almost same with Kampachi !!
    VKeong, they must be recognise you & use you to catch water fish like us !!!

    This kind of price, i rather go eat Kampachi just add in RM10+ each person.
    The quality & taste totally cannot compare !!

  7. I went there twice this year and twice last year for different occasions.

    Everytime I went, the food served were of the same quality and standard as the last time. Sashimi served was also as good as those shown in VKeong’s photos. They even bothered to decorate the dish properly. There was once they ran our of sashimi and they even offered to change it to tuna. The soft shell crab, tempura, scallops and unagi are great too.

    Although I must agree with comment #19 that their shishamo and some other dishes are rather mediocre taste wise.

    I would definately recommend Munakata over other buffets around KL. Too bad I’m not in KL now.

  8. I couldnt find the resto anymore. It looks to me like the whole Life Centre has been abandoned. Any idea where it has moved to? I am craving for a really good japanese buffet and your photos are really inviting! Thanks.


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