Umai Crate Subscription Box Review + Coupon – February 2019
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. Save with longer subscriptions.
The Products: 7-8 Japanese-exclusive instant noodle dishes + a bonus item.
Ships to: Worldwide
Umai Crate February 2019 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 bukkake udon.
Let’s get to noodling!
This larger-than-average bowl of yakisoba contains a signature sauce, which combines Worcestershire sauce and chuno, a semi-sweet sauce made from fruits and vegetables. There was also a packet of Kewpie spicy mayo to drizzle on top. I really liked these! The portion was generous and filling, and the wasabi mayo was a nice contrast to the tangy sauce. The packaging design was also pretty brilliant with the built-in strainer. I’d reach for these again.
Red Miso Soup
I typically enjoy the instant miso soup cups from Umai Crate, and this one was no different. It contains a higher percentage of soybeans and is fermented longer than typical miso, which is what gives it a nice, dark red color. Though I couldn’t detect a noticeable difference in the flavor between this one and other instant miso soups, I still found it delicious, and I appreciated the big pieces of tofu.
This udon cooks up in five minutes, and the size of the package could feed several people. I cooked these in the yakiago dashi with some vegetables. The noodles themselves were salty with the perfect amount of bite. I used 1/3 of the package in the photo above, so there’s still plenty left to incorporate into other dishes. Nice!
Daishizen Miso Ramen
Ahh yes, another healthy ramen from Japanese radio personality, Michio Kawamura. I’ve received this brand a few other times and found the flavor light, but still enjoyable. To this iteration, I added in some frozen mixed vegetables while the ramen was cooking, and topped it off with seaweed flakes, black and white sesame seeds, and a little bit of crushed red pepper. Not bad with a little doctoring!
Sichuan Style Ramen
I received this same ramen with the November 2018 box and was prepared for it to be really spicy, as most cuisine from Sichuan goes rather hard with the red chilis. The heat of this was a lot milder than I had anticipated, but the flavor was still very tasty overall, as the spices were distinctly Chinese. I added carrots, green onions, and mushrooms for a winning—albeit very salty—dish.
This Japanese soup stock base is made from a dried flying fish that is typically grilled. I’m not a particular fan of fish flavors, but I’ve yet to come across a soup stock that I didn’t like. I boiled 1-1/4 cup of water, then mixed in the stock powder. The fish scent was initially pretty overpowering, and that made me nervous. I added about another 1/2 cup of water to the pot, followed by the hayanie udon and cooked it for 5 minutes or so. Then, I topped everything off with carrot sticks, green onions, mushrooms, and a little bit of seaweed flake. It didn’t taste fishy at all, much to my delight. It also packed a lot of umami flavor and was a nice pair to the udon. With six total servings in the box, I can enjoy it again and again.
Instead of a typical broth base, this ramen offers tomato flavoring for an unusual twist. I liked the robustness of the tomato broth, but I thought the pre-cooked noodles were rubbery and off-putting. The fresh tomato slices and soft-boiled egg were great add-ins, but I wound up just eating those, drinking the broth, and leaving most of the noodles behind.
Though I’m not always excited to receive shrimp-forward noodles, this one sounded really good for a chilly day, with its combination of green onions and chili peppers. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! The shrimp flavor wasn’t too intense, the spice level was subtle but present enough to keep things interesting, and the shrimp tenkasu topping wound up being a great addition.
This month’s bonus item is crunchy bits of deep-fried flour batter for sprinkling on top of noodle dishes. I appreciated the resealable bag, and after having a preview of these in the Kisoba listed above, I think they’re all right, despite my usual aversion to seafood. The bits soak up broth really fast, so if you’re looking for crunch, you better eat them quickly!
Verdict: This month’s Umai Crate was all right. My favorite was definitely the gotsumori yakisoba, and my least favorite was the tomato ramen. 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, even though I was in the middle of the road for most of the offerings.
To Wrap Up:
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? No, you will receive the April 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, an instant miso soup, one pack of hayanie udon, and a 3-pack of dashi soup base, which come to an average of $3.75 per item.
Check out all of the Umai Crate Reviews to get more information on this subscription.
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What was your favorite bowl from the February Umai Crate? Do you have any go-to add-ins for instant noodles?