Umai Crate Subscription Box Review + Coupon – September 2018
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
About Umai Crate
The Subscription Box: Umai Crate
The Cost: $30 a month + free shipping
The Products: 7-8 Japanese-exclusive instant noodle dish + a bonus collectible
Ships to: Worldwide
Umai Crate August 2018 Review
This month’s Umai Crate booklet lists each of the ramen bowls with a quick description, cooking instructions, and recommended add-ins. This is super helpful to review before and during taste testing! There is also a recipe card for Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki.
Let’s get to noodling!
I’m used to instant noodles being soup-based, so this quick take on yakisoba immediately piqued my interest. All you have to do is pour out the hot water after cooking, which is super easy with the built-in grate! This particular bowl came with a salt seasoning and a sesame sauce, rather than the traditional soy sauce dressing, and salty it was. It was also a touch smoky and very savory, which I really enjoyed. The noodles were soft and light. I’ll probably buy another bowl of these just to try out the okonomiyaki recipe included.
According to the info card, Gunma-chan is the horse mascot of Japan’s Gunma Prefecture, which has historical fame for raising horses. As for how the ingredients tied to the motif remains to be seen. This udon was generously topped with scallions, egg, and seaweed. The seaweed aroma was initially alarming in its robustness, but the taste of it was much milder and more balanced. The broth was a little sweet, and the noodles were pleasantly soft and chewy. This udon is a great fit for folks that love a savory flavor profile.
I loved the to-go packaging for this miso soup! It would make for a very nice addition to a packed lunch. Easily sippable, and the tofu rings and seaweed bits were a nice touch. It was difficult to determine which of the green bits were seaweed, and which were spinach. I enjoy both, so for this soup, I’m a fan.
Champon is a regional dish of Nagasaki typically served with seafood, cabbage, and carrots. This pack acts as a simplistic base to a customizable meal. It came with a seasoning packet with shiitake notes, as well a translucent package with what looked like shrimp flakes. Eating it as-is was underwhelming, but pairing it with some fresh vegetables, a soft boiled egg, and a sliced protein would make for an excellent dish. I put a few sprinkles of the spicy shichimi from the crate on top, and it really gave it some personality.
The info card recommended taking this shrimp soba for a spin on a particularly chilly night, so I did! It was an okay time. The dried shrimp aroma was incredibly strong upon opening the lid, which gave me some pause. The bowl contained little fish cakes, plenty of scallions, and some tempura shrimp pieces. I found the soba to have a more savory flavor than your average instant noodle, but the consistency is about the same as typical ramen. As for the broth, it was salty but still balanced, kind of like beef stock. I wouldn’t seek this bowl out again because of how aggressively flavored the shrimp pieces were, but if you’re a seafood fan, this would be a good fit for you.
Sapporo Miso Ramen
This pack came with two servings! I’m glad because I’ll definitely whip up the second batch with the recommended add-ins of bacon, corn, and bamboo shoots. The noodles had an excellent bite, and the miso broth was incredibly robust. Have a glass of water nearby for this one, because it’s easily the saltiest of the crate! Enjoying this without any add-ins felt like a missed opportunity because a few simple touches would make for a very elevated meal.
These noodles are made like udon but are thin and light. The pack came with three bundles, which is great because I appreciate the opportunity to experiment further after initial impressions! The info card instructions weren’t specific with the cook time (cook until soft), but the minimal amount of Japanese I can read instructed to cook them for 4 minutes, which proved suitable. They were indeed thin and light as advertised.
This 3-pack of sauce is a blend of bonito flakes and umeboshi (pickled plum) paste. The info card recommended mixing it with the hiyamugi noodles from above, so I did. The pickled plum scent was apparent right out of the packaging; sharp and sweet. As for the flavor, it was tangy, sour, and very light with the noodles, but doesn’t stand out very much on its own. I could see the suggested red onion, chicken breast, and cherry tomatoes being excellent accompaniments to this mild and unique sauce.
This Hachi Habanero curry spice wasn’t messing around by labeling itself as spicy. With coriander, cumin, red pepper, turmeric, black pepper, and a few other spices, this seasoning packs a flavorful punch with a pronounced heat that lingers. I liked it but will use it judiciously. If you’re someone that just can’t get your food spicy enough, this seasoning is for you.
Bonus Item – Lid Opener
This silicone utensil is pretty handy! With three different sizes for opening different kinds of lids, this will definitely come in handy for those times when no one is around to help out with difficult packaging.
Verdict: This month’s Umai Crate was an interesting adventure! It was my first experience with this box, so I don’t have a solid point of prior reference. However, I really appreciated the range of flavors and the very handy instructions for preparing each item. With an average cost of $3.33 per item—with some items containing multiple servings—I’d say it’s worth it for discovering some new instant noodles to try again later, and the knowledge of knowing which ones to potentially avoid next time I’m loose in an Asian grocery store.
To Wrap Up:
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? No, you will receive the October box.
Coupon – Use code MSA3 to save $3 off your first Japan Crate Premium, Doki Doki Crate, Umai Crate, or Kira Kira Crate
Value Breakdown: This box is $30 a month with free shipping. I received six instant noodle packages, one pack of hiyamugi noodles, one pack of mekatsuo udon sauce, and one jar of spicy shichimi seasoning, which come to an average of $3.33 per item.
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.
What was your favorite bowl from the September Umai Crate?