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!
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
ACTIVE DEAL: Save $3 off your first box
The Products: 7-8 Japanese-exclusive instant noodle dish + a bonus collectible
Ships to: Worldwide
Umai Crate November 2018 Review
This month’s Umai Crate booklet lists each of the items 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 nabe hot pot.
Let’s get to noodling!
Tanukioyazi Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen
This tonkotsu ramen won me over pretty quickly. It was incredibly savory and very flavorful with a mounting, mid-level heat. The recommended add-ins were chopped mushrooms and green onions, so if I had the pleasure of having this ramen again in the future, I’ll definitely reach for those. Off to a great start!
Daikokuken Tempura Soba
Tempura soba is one of my favorite Japanese dishes, so I was excited to give these a go. The dashi bonito soup powder smelled really fishy right out of the package but mellowed out in contrast to the buckwheat flavor of the noodles. As for the tempura cake, I just tossed it on top after the noodles were done cooking. It was crispy and oily, without much additional flavor, and it softened up around the bottom as the broth steamed it. I’m not sure what the little pink pieces were, but that’s okay. These noodles were just all right. The tempura cake was an interesting touch, but there were other noodles in this box I liked more.
This ramen is Japan’s rendition of Sichuan-style noodles. The Sichuan region of China is known for its flaming hot cuisine, and the bright red sauce packet indicated these noodles were going to live up to Sichuan’s reputation. The soup base smelled distinctly of Chinese spices. To my surprise, these noodles weren’t as brutally spicy as I thought they would be, as they only had a very, very subtle heat, but they were still incredibly flavorful. I fried an egg and stirred in some chopped kale to make this more of a meal. The Chinese influence of these noodles was a cool thing, but I wish it would have been more pronounced in the end result. Other than that, these were just okay.
Daishizen Miso Ramen
This miso ramen is a repeat offering because was so popular after its Umai Crate debut. From a Japanese radio personality whose focus is on nature and healthy foods, these were the least salty instant noodles I’ve ever had. The miso flavor was light but was still very much a comfort food. These were a delicious win for me, and I’d definitely reach for them again.
Caring Miso Soup
This three-pack promised a “less-guilty approach” to enjoying miso soup, as it’s made with GABA, a natural amino acid that’s widely present in plants and animals. GABA helps to lower blood pressure. As a result of the presence of this amino acid, this miso soup was very light on the salt, allowing the seaweed flavor and tofu pieces to shine. It wasn’t my favorite, but I do like knowing there are nutritious options out there for miso soup.
Kumamoto Tonkotsu Ramen
I had a feeling these noodles were going to be my favorite of the month, and that hunch was right. The pork broth was rich, cloudy, and super tasty with the addition of the mayu black garlic oil. The noodles themselves had a nice bite. In no way did this bowl taste like it came together in only three minutes! Like a previous bowl of noodles in this review, I added some frozen corn, some more kale (though a gentler green like spinach would have been better), and an egg to round out a meal. There’s no photo of that finished product because I scarfed it all down in record time—it was that good. Even better yet, this pack came with two servings, so I get to do it all over again! Score.
Nabe Ramen Noodles
These nabe ramen noodles were designed for hot pot, which is like Asian soup fondue. It’s a communal cooking experience, where everyone sits around a pot of hot broth and cooks thinly-sliced meats and vegetables. This particular pack came with three servings, and a singular bundle offered a higher yield than the average serving of instant noodles. These cooked up in three minutes with a nice bite. Umai Crate suggested enjoying this nabe ramen with the shizumi nabe soup mix, which I did below.
Shizumi Nabe Soup
After cooking a bundle of nabe ramen in two cups of boiling water for two minutes, I added an additional cup of water, along with the nabe soup base. As you may have noticed from some of the other noodles, the only other add-ins I had at the time were corn and kale, so in they went. The soup base was really good! It had a light soy flavor and accentuated the flavor of the vegetables. I’m glad the noodles and the soup base came with multiple servings, so next time, I can go all in with protein and veggies to share with friends.
Bonus Item: Curry Powder
Man, do I love Japanese curry. This curry powder is another repeat item from a previous Umai Crate, brought back by popular demand. It offers a very classic Japanese curry flavor that I’m excited to experiment with in noodles to come.
Verdict: This month’s Umai Crate was pretty solid! My favorite was definitely the kumamoto tonkotsu ramen, and although I’d consider the miso soup my least favorite, I still didn’t mind it all that much. With an average cost of $3.75 per item—with some items containing multiple servings and a bonus item—this box was once again worth it for me.
To Wrap Up:
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? No, you will receive the December 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 five instant noodle packages, one pack of nabe ramen noodles, a 3-pack of miso soup, and a 3-pack of shizumi nabe soup base, which come to an average of $3.75 per item.
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What was your favorite bowl from the November Umai Crate? Do you have any go-to add-ins for instant noodles?
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