Umai Crate Subscription Box Review + Coupon – June 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: 8-10 Japanese-exclusive instant noodle dishes + a bonus item.
Ships to: Worldwide
Umai Crate June 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 oden, a type of Japanese hot pot. I thought that was an odd choice as we rapidly approach the hottest part of the year.
If you’re in the mood for some sodium-rich content, grab a glass of water, and let’s get into it.
Wakame Sesame Udon
Oh, I do love me some bona fide udon. The broth of these noodles is a classic combination of bonito, wakame, and sesame. What you can easily see are the chewy, delicious noodles I wrenched out of a vacuum-sealed square shape after heating them through with some hot water for five minutes. What you can’t really see is the very generous helping of wakame and the sesame seeds floating at the bottom, ready to be enjoyed. Speaking of enjoyment, I really liked these! The udon had an excellent texture, the broth was flavorful, and the bottom-dwelling garnish really rounded everything out.
Chinese Miso Soba
What an interesting concept! At first glance, these just looked like run-of-the-mill ramen noodles, but after a taste, I was pleasantly surprised. The miso broth had incredible depth, and lent itself well to the soft, wavy ramen and tiny vegetables. Chinese miso—it works.
Sunaoshi Spicy Ramen
I’d recognize the 7-stroke character and imposing packaging design of these noodles anywhere—it’s Shin Ramyun, and when it says it’s spicy, you better believe they’re not playing around. To best prepare for the heat that lied ahead, I soft boiled an egg and had some emergency cheese ready to go off to the side. Both are excellent ways to mitigate spiciness, especially for Japanese and Korean dishes. As you can see, I also included a generous heap of kimchi from The Pickled Chef, because kimchi is equal parts delicious and nutritious. These noodles were indeed hot, but not painfully so. I think the egg and the small sprinkle of cheese really helped with that. They were more of a lip-tingling spicy than a full-gastrointestinal-distress spicy, and for that I am grateful. Overall, this ramen was of average deliciousness.
Itsukian Tempura Soba
Tempura soba is a hard thing to pull off. Moments after the crunchy tempura bits hit the broth, they become soft nothings and practically disappear into the noodles. By some stroke of luck, the tops of my noodles were exposed from the broth, making the perfect island to spill out the tempura pack! The first few bites I had were crispy, oniony, and delicious, with the soft, earthy quality of the soba noodles peeking through. Of course, the tempura bits had melted down shortly thereafter, but I’m glad I got the proper tempura experience, even if it was only for a few bites.
Hakata Free Animal Ramen
Yeahhh, tonkotsu ramen! One of my favorites! What’s not to love about pork bone broth, if you’re into that sort of thing? (I’m into it. I’m very into it.) If you like one kind of tonkotsu ramen, chances are, you’re gonna like ’em all, as was my experience here. I added a soft boiled egg with some seaweed furikake, another generous pile of kimchi, and spinach to my noodles. They were salty as all get out, incredibly umami, and very satisfying. I was a little bummed that this was only a single-serving pack, as noodles of this kind in the past have had multiple servings, but that’s my tonkotsu greed speaking.
Cold Tea Soba (2 pack)
WHAT. The moment I pulled these out of the box, my jaw hit the floor. To give you some background, I love green food and drinks. I’m talking spinach, broccoli, and matcha, to name a few. I’ve heard rumors about matcha noodles, and yet there they were, right in front of me. I could hardly believe it. Once the disbelief had cleared, I boiled those beautiful green noodles for 4 minutes, drained them, let them cool in an ice bath for 2 minutes, then drained them a second time. They came with a wonderful umami dipping sauce that had a hint of sweetness. I’m not always excited about cold noodles, but these were really nice! They didn’t have any distinct matcha flavor, but you honestly can’t go wrong with that coloring. Dipping the noodles was kind of fun for a while, until I got impatient and just dumped the sauce directly into the noodles. I’m really happy there’s a second serving so I can enjoy these again.
As I mentioned before, this seemed like a questionable addition to a June shipment, because, you know, it’s hot outside. Real hot. Though, I’m open to comfort foods of all kinds year-round, and comfort food is the express purpose of this seasoning. A warm soy sauce and dashi soup meant to be cooked with a myriad of ingredients (like eggs, daikon, tofu, and fish cakes), this seasoning had my interest. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to invite over friends for a Japanese hot pot, so I cooked up a broth with the seasoning just for a taste test. It was very much akin to chicken broth, but with a hint of caramelized flavor. Certainly odd and unexpected, but on its own, very delicious. The box included 6 servings, too! I have plenty more opportunities to have a proper hot pot in the future, and knowing how good this seasoning mix is, I’m looking forward to enjoying it in its full form when the time comes.
Crab Power Miso Soup
I laughed so hard at the name of this miso. It’s my absolute favorite thing about this box—possibly my favorite thing about being alive right now. CRAB POWER! Look at how powerful the illustrated folks on the back of the packaging are! As an aside, I frequently joke about eating animals in order to absorb their powers (alligator in March, kangaroo most recently during a trip to Australia), so I was more than ready to take in the promised force of Japanese crabs. As is to be expected, this tasted like any instant miso soup, but with the bonus of dehydrated crab pieces, which had an odd, spongy texture, but not a ton of actual crab flavor. I’d rate this soup as just okay, and though I don’t notice any real changes now, I’ll report back if my crab powers ever kick in.
Bonus Item – Shiso Furikake
I prefer when Umai Crate includes something consumable as a bonus item rather than a collectible, though the silicone jar opener from the September 2018 box has really been handy. This dry seasoning is made from Japanese red shiso and promises a refreshing, herby flavor. I’ve never tasted anything like this in my life, and while at first I wasn’t entirely convinced that was a good thing, I landed on liking it. This furikake had sort of a pickled quality, with salt, sourness, and few other key elements I just couldn’t quite put my finger on. Not bad! Not bad at all.
Verdict: This month’s Umai Crate was pretty good! As a noodle enthusiast, this box rarely lets me down. The wakame sesame udon, hakata ramen, and cold matcha noodles were my favorites, while the other items were just all right. No total duds this month! With an average cost of $3.75 per item, this box was certainly worth it for me.
To Wrap Up:
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? No, you will receive the July box.
Value Breakdown: This box is $30 a month with free shipping. I received six instant noodle packages, one soup, and one 6-pack of oden seasoning, which come to an average of $3.75 per item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What was your favorite bowl from the June Umai Crate? Do you have any go-to add-ins for instant noodles?