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Umai Crate Subscription Box Review – January 2017

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Umai Crate by Japan Crate focuses on bringing you Japanese-exclusive instant noodles. Each month, you’ll receive 7-8 instant noodles to try along with a bonus collectible!

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My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).

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The Subscription Box: Umai Crate

The Cost: $25 a month w/ free shipping

The Products: 7-8 Japanese-exclusive instant noodle dish + a bonus collectible

Ships To: Worldwide

Good to know: Umai Crate is currently in waitlist mode

Check out all of the Umai Crate Reviews to get more information on this subscription. Check out all of our Food Subscription Boxes in the Subscription Box List. Rate, review, and follow this subscription on the Umai Crate profile page.

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The information booklet lists out every item you receive. The booklet includes all the cooking instructions and suggested additions to the noodle recipes. This month included a bonus ramen and, as always, a bonus item!

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The booklet always includes a couple recipes to really level up your noodle experience. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, there are two full recipes you can follow to really bump up your noodle experience! 

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Nissin HK Cup – Black Pepper Crab

I was really distracted by the intensity of the pepper in this cup! I like black pepper on almost everything but this felt like someone tried to shake a little pepper in it and the lid accidentally popped off the pepper shaker, dumping the whole container in. If you like black pepper more than anything in the world, you may be able to get through this! I was only able to take a few bites before it became too much. But the broth was yummy, the noodles were nice, and the crab chunks tasted great. It was just impossible for me to really enjoy any of that with the overwhelming pepper flavor.

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Nissin HK Demae Iccho Bowl – Chicken

This was one of the larger bowls in the box and I’m always surprised at how huge the bowls can be! These bowls always feel like a serving and a half to me. The flavor for this one was similar to the other chicken flavors in this box. The base of the soup really mild and reminiscent of chicken soup. The flavor packet in this contained a nice black garlic oil that added a punch of flavor. That flavor took this a step up for me but for these milder soups, I usually follow some of the suggested additions. I added a few leftover vegetables I had on hand like carrots, onions, and spinach. Those additions turned this into a really hearty meal!

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FF Tom Yum Seafood

I was excited to see this in the box because I love Tom Yum soup. This also came in my favorite kind of packaging, where the soup is in a self-contained plastic bowl. I find that these are the most convenient when you’re on the go. I like the noodles in this bowl because they stay pretty firm against the creaminess of the broth. The creaminess of this soup is my favorite thing and the slight citrus flavor goes really well with that. The only suggestion I went with was the addition of chopped garlic and, while I like the soup on its own, I loved it with the garlic flavor.

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Old Ocean Flavor Ramen

“Old Ocean Flavor” is one of those names that doesn’t immediately instill confidence in me but this proved me wrong! This tasted like a nice seafood medley, similar to a chowder but with more shrimp flavor than anything else. This was one of the larger bowls in the box. I ate about half of this and saved the rest for later. When I first tasted this, I didn’t add anything because there is so much flavor that I didn’t feel like it needed extra. But when I went to reheat the leftovers, I followed their suggestion to add nori and I threw in some oyster crackers. I really loved both versions of this ramen and I love that I got two meals out of one bowl!

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Sapporo Ichiban – Hot and Spicy Chicken

This was listed as a bonus item and was one my favorites from the box. Sometimes the spicier options are so hot I can only feel the pain from the heat instead of the flavor. This ramen was just noodles and a soup base so, while it is hot, it also serves as a nice base to build on. The chicken flavor is strong and the mild spice is perfect for any additions you like – I went with some green beans and tofu. My favorite level of spiciness is one that I can feel while I’m eating the noodles but I can also enjoy when I drink the broth. This one covered both of those bases!

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Waiwai Spicy Shrimp

Having been surprised at the level of spice in some of these noodle packets, I’ve started tasting a tiny bit from the spice packet and adding a little bit at a time to the soup. This one kind of tricked me! I tasted the spicy packet and, while it was definitely spicy, there was a tiny bit of sweetness that made it more flavorful and bearable. I must have taken too tiny of a taste because man, was this hot when I added the whole packet! I took a big sip of the broth after I made it and I felt my throat burn for quite a while! I wish I had put about half of the spice packet in because it was hard for me to taste any flavors through the hotness. I was only able to take a few bites of this before my lips and tongue felt tingly but I actually really loved the lemon flavor that came through. I think it I had made this at about half the spice level, I would have loved it. The only odd thing about this packaging is that you are supposed to pour boiling water over the noodles and when those are the instructions, it usually comes in a bowl. So this might not be the most convenient one if you’re making it for lunch at work or something but if you’re in the mood for an insanely spicy experience at home, you’re in for quite an adventure!

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JML Fragrant Mushroom Chicken

This ramen felt like another good base to build on. It had a pretty standard chicken flavor with mushroom. This reminded me a lot of chicken noodle soup. This is another one where I decided to add to it. I added a hard-boiled egg, ginger, and spinach. I prefer to add to the plainer soups but it was really tasty before the additions. It was also a nice break from all the spicy flavors in this box!

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Nissin HK Demae Iccho Bag – Spicy!

After all the other spicy options, I was a little nervous for this! But this ramen turned out to be one of my favorites. It was the kind of spicy I love, where you do feel the spiciness but it’s not painful or overshadowing the actual flavors. I really liked the broth because it had a nice thickness to it. It tasted kind of creamy which was a nice pairing with the slight spiciness that kicks in later. I actually had some nori on hand so I toasted in and it added a great smoky flavor and crunch!

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Color Pencil Chopsticks

The bonus items in this box are always so cute! I now have a small collection of chopsticks and I love these quirky colored pencil chopsticks! I love using these and now I want more colors.

Verdict: The theme of this box felt like seafood and spiciness! I really enjoyed the mix of spicy noodles and this definitely gave me a lot of options that I haven’t seen before. When I look these up online, I can usually find them somewhere between $2-$4. But when I add shipping cost and the fact that I would have to buy these online instead of finding them in a nearby store, the $25 value is there for me. A few of the spicy bowls were a little too hot for me but I was able to tone down the spiciness with some additions. And now I know to only add a little spice at a time! I also loved both of the seafood options and would definitely order more of those. I think my favorite spicy dish ended up being the bonus item! The two chicken flavors were more on the mild side but I really appreciated having those there to enjoy between the wilder flavors. I always enjoy a couple mild bowls to experiment with adding different vegetables. The only one I didn’t like was the black pepper crab. If it had been slightly less peppery I think I would have enjoyed it but it was just a bit overwhelming for me. Overall, this month’s box gave me a good amount of new flavors to try! And I love the bonus items!

What did you think of the January Umai Crate? Have you tried this subscription yet?

Written by Sarah Paul

Sarah Paul

Sarah’s first box was Honest Company and she was excited to learn that there are boxes to cover many of her interests which include coffee, sci-fi, books, pop culture, comics, and makeup. She’s currently loving Stars Hollow Monthly and Vegan Cuts, and can’t wait to find more!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

5 Comments

  1. I wish I could order this with the caveat of no seafood flavors – I really don’t like them, and I have a slight shellfish allergy that makes me really itchy! I love Ramen though and would love to try more flavors with curation.

    • Same as me. I’d love this box but only with seafood-less or seafood-light options.

  2. It made me chuckle a little to see that the only truly Japanese product was the “old ocean” (which means “shrimp” in Japanese – if it was written in the info card, it’s pretty obvious to me that they are not Japanese) 😉

  3. I love the Umai crate but sadly January was my last month. I have accumulated way too many ramen packages as I only eat maybe one or two a month. This one was one of my faves. My pencil chopsticks were baby blue. So cute. I’m going to use them as hair sticks instead. I’m going to be so jealous when you post a review for February as the spoiler showed Pikachu ramen.

  4. I normally love my Umai Crates but this was a complete miss for me because I don’t like seafood and can’t eat spicy foods. I ended up selling the entire box to someone. The chopsticks though were super cute!

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