Umai Crate Subscription Box Review + Coupon – August 2019


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Umai Crate by Japan Crate brings you Japanese-exclusive instant noodles. Each month, you’ll receive a variety of instant noodles, soups, and sauces to try, along with a culinary bonus item!

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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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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 culinary bonus item.

Ships: Worldwide for free!

Umai Crate August 2019 Review

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    The Umai Crate booklet lists each of the items with a quick description, cooking instructions, and recommended add-ins. The translations aren’t always accurate, but they generally get the job done. This is super helpful to review before and during taste testing. There is also a recipe card for crispy noodle kakiage.

    If you’re down for some sodium-rich content, grab a glass of water and let’s get into it.

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      Asakusa Sauce Yakisoba

      These noodles definitely delivered on their promise of a mix of savory and sour flavors, which I didn’t mind at all. There was a touch of ginger flavor that I appreciated, and the soy-based sauce was enjoyable as well. The info booklet suggested red pepper flakes as a topping, which was definitely the right call. A little bit of heat brought something very special to the overall flavor profile. I also tossed some black and white sesame seeds on there for good measure, which is never a bad idea.

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        Udon Dappe

        I didn’t really mind these, but they didn’t knock my socks off. The broth was a nice blend of sweet and savory, the noodles were creamy with just the right amount of bite, and the fried fish pieces (which struck me more as tofu, but who can really tell) mixed well with the rehydrated seaweed. It was a pretty classic assortment of flavors. I added some fresh green onions, some shichimi spice from a previous Umai Crate, and some bonito flakes from last month’s delivery to liven things up a bit. Once again, adding some heat with the shichimi seasoning was a great call.

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          Mini Bunashimeji Mushroom Udon

          If you swipe through the photos, I included an image of these noodles next to a can of Coke to give a sense of scale. The package is so small and cute! This month’s info booklet touted these as a perfect side soup to complement a meal, but I wound up enjoying them as a late-night snack. I really liked the tiny bunashijemi mushrooms—they were like miniature Alice in Wonderland mushrooms with a mild flavor and amusing appeal. I don’t see mushrooms pop up in instant noodles very often, so this was a cute treat.

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            Seafood Sara Udon

            I was originally a little confounded when I unboxed these, because the concept of not boiling the noodles from an Umai Crate just didn’t register right out of the gate. After reading through the info booklet (and doing a little research online) about sara udon, I realized I’ve had these before at a local, long-standing Asian noodle joint not too far from where I live. You simply take these crispy noodles and top them with veggies and protein stir-fried in broth, seasonings, and a little cornstarch or potato slurry to thicken things up. I followed a recipe I found online for cooking the toppings. The great thing about a dish like this is, you can use pretty much anything you have on hand. I opted for white onion, mushrooms, a yellow pepper, and some spinach. Once all of those had cooked down and softened up, I stirred in about 1/2 cup of chicken broth mixed with soy sauce, sprinkled in one of the seafood-flavored seasoning packets from the noodle container, then mixed in a little bit of cornstarch slurry. I served this with spicy kimchi I bought locally, and a soft-boiled egg. The noodles themselves were incredibly crispy, which was the perfect contrast to the soft veggie toppings. I could have gone without the seafood powder, but the info booklet didn’t specify when/how to use it, so that was just an improvisation. Best of all, this pack came with two servings, so I’m happy to enjoy these one more time!

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              Healthy Vegetable Ramen

              Umai Crate has included some ramen packets in the past that claim they’re healthy, but here’s the thing—if you’re an active, enthusiastic subscriber to a monthly box of instant anything, especially noodles, chances are, you’re not incredibly concerned with the nutritional aspect of the box contents. According to the info booklet, these noodles were fried with 100% vegetable oil, made from domestic-grown Japanese flour, and use natural seasonings. I’m not entirely convinced that trio of characteristics absolves this ramen from its other far less healthy qualities. All that to say, these noodles had a very mild flavor while still being expectedly salty.

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                Fururu Cold Noodles

                Cold noodles were the theme of last month’s Umai Crate, but this month only included these. They’re Korean bibim noodles flavored with a sweet, sour, and spicy gochujang sauce, which promises heat without the heat. Lord, these were spicy. The noodles were kind of like ones in japchae—slippery, chewy, but a little difficult to eat as they were all stuck together. Ths sauce was also incredibly spicy. I’m glad I added in a soft-boiled egg to lessen some of the heat! Though, that was rendered useless with my thoughtless addition of spicy kimchi.

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                  Taiwan Mix Soba Sauce

                  I. Love. Taiwan. It’s my favorite place I’ve ever been, and I talk about it constantly because it’s such an incredible treasure. The thing that made my time in Taipei so memorable was the food, hands down. I spent hours eating my way through night markets and little restaurants tucked in narrow alleyways for next to nothing. It was unreal. Imagine my delight to see this sauce mix! A blend of soy sauce, minced meat, and garlic, this sauce is meant to be paired with the Chinese noodles below. Admittedly, I was a little wary out about the minced meat, but this sauce wound up really taking me by surprise. It was deep and complex, with lots of distinct flavors reminiscent of Chinese cooking, a profound saltiness, and enough spice to make things interesting without being overpowering. The minced meat wasn’t all that weird, either. The package and info card both say this pack has enough sauce for two servings, but the package isn’t resealable, nor are the portions pre-measured for individual use, so if you got this month’s crate, I recommend opening this when you’re ready to dish out both servings.

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                    Chinese Noodles

                    These can be enjoyed either hot or cold, and as I mentioned above, they’re meant to be paired with the Taiwan mix soba sauce. The info booklet suggested a 5-minute cook time, which seemed like a lot for this type of noodle. Usually 2-3 minutes will do, and after 3 minutes, the noodles become a little too soft. I removed these from the pot at the 4-minute mark, and they retained a wonderful texture with the perfect bite. It’s also worth mentioning that this pack hosts 2 servings, despite the booklet and the packaging not really indicating so.

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                      Bonus Item – Yuzu Sesame Sauce

                      This is a mix of grated sesame with zesty yuzu flavor, meant to be enjoyed on a hot day. It’s August, and lots of people are likely lamenting the “end” of summer, but the heat is going to continue lingering for quite awhile, so there’s still plenty of time to enjoy this in its intended setting. I don’t consider this a sauce at all—it’s definitely a seasoning. The sesame flavor is the most forward, but it mellows into a sweet and fresh yuzu taste. This is going to make a great addition to noodle dipping sauces, or on top of cooked vegetables for an interesting sensation.

                      VerdictThis month’s Umai Crate was a pretty interesting mix! I found most of the items to be rather unexpected, and they were a great departure from a lot of offerings that become standard procedure to receive from this subscription after awhile. It was a creative curation with so many new flavors and textures to uncover. My favorite item was the seafood sara udon because it was such an interesting take on what this box is known for. With an average cost of $3.75 per item, this box was worth it for me, once again.

                      To Wrap Up:

                      Can I still get this box if I sign up today? No, you will receive the September box. Japan Crate will oftentimes add items from previous boxes to their online store, so if any of these really jump out at you, check there should you like to make any individual purchases.

                      Value Breakdown: This box is $30 a month with free shipping. I received six instant noodle packages, one sauce pack, and one bundle of Chinese noodles, 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, plus see even more of our best food subscription boxes.

                      Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

                      What was your favorite bowl from the August Umai Crate? Do you have any go-to add-ins for instant noodles?

                      How do subscribers rate Umai Crate?

                      3 subscribers rated this subscription
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                      Written by Savannah Sprowls

                      Savannah Sprowls

                      Savannah spends her days testing the creative limits of an all-black wardrobe, rattling about years spent overseas, and whipping up carb-heavy meals at home. Degustabox was her first foray into the world of monthly subscription boxes, and she still gets wildly excited every time a package arrives.

                      Posted in Food Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews, Umai Crate Reviews| Tags: umai crate | 0 comments

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