Umai Crate Subscription Box Review + Coupon – September 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 September 2019 Review

  • info booklet front cover

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  • info booklet interior cover right

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  • info booklet interior far left

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  • info booklet interior far right

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  • info booklet back cover

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  • quick japanese seafood carbonara recipe card

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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 quick Japanese seafood carbonara.

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

    • tanuki soba top view

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    • tanuki soba side view

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    • tanuki soba cooked

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      Tanuki Soba

      This is a standard instant soba with a base of bonito, soy sauce, and ginger. I didn’t think there was going to be anything all that special about these noodles, but the hint of ginger was really pleasant! My health hasn’t been all that great recently, so that splash of ginger was a welcome treat for my sore, mangled throat.

      • nagomian kitsune udon top view

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      • nagomian kitusne udon side view

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      • nagomian kitsune udon open lid

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      • nagomian kitsune udon top cooked

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        Nagomian Kitsune Udon

        The info card mentioned these noodles come with a big piece of fried tofu, which I didn’t think much about, as instant noodle fried tofu is never that large. Imagine my surprise when I peeled back the lid to find this glorious hunk! The soy-based broth and classic instant udon were expected, but that big ol’ piece of tofu added a really wonderful flavor profile. I think it might have been soaked in mirin or something—it had a sweetness to it that really meshed well with the other salty flavors. This was a really great inclusion!

        • akai kitsune yaki udon top view

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        • akai kitsune yaki udon side view

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        • akai kitsune yaki udon ingredients

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        • akai kitsune yaki udon grate

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        • akai kitsune yaki udon cooked

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          Akai Kitsune Udon

          The info card says “save these noodles for when you really need them!” and I have no idea what could possibly be meant by that. Emotionally need them? Physically need them? I’m in a permanent state of needing noodles, emotional overload or not, but I still wound up enjoying these on a rather miserable day. As I mentioned, I’ve been pretty under the weather recently, so I thought the mild flavor of this udon and its spices could be chalked up to my current state. However, my sense of taste was one of the only things about me still left fully functioning, so I can’t blame myself for these being somewhat unimpressive. However, I did appreciate the serving size.

          • genmai ramen front

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          • genmai ramen back

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          • genmai ramen cooked

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            Genmai Ramen

            I really liked these! As you can tell from the photo, I didn’t make them particularly soupy for a change, and that was a good move. Fried in 100% veggie oil and spiced to perfection, this ramen was soft and flavorful. There’s a high chance I’ve received these in a previous box as they had some familiarity to them. In the info booklet, these were marketed as a “healthy” ramen option, but if you’re eating instant anything, it’s going to be tough to make a real case for any sort of health benefit. For me, that’s fine—I know what I’m getting into!

            • akakara ramen front

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            • akakara ramen back

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            • akakara ramen cooked

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              Akakara Ramen

              Behold, my favorite noodles of the month! These were a lot like the delicious tonkotsu noodle packets that occasionally pop up with this subscription, but with a spicy, interesting twist. The packaging and info booklet description made these out to be inedibly hot, but I thought they were just right, and my body hasn’t been too keen about really spicy foods lately. The broth had a creamy bone-like quality to it, and the noodles were perfect for smooth slurping. I wish this would have been a multi-serving pack!

              • chikkoi matsutake udon top view

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              • chikkoi matsutake udon side view

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              • chikkoi matsutake udon cooked

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              • chikkoi matsutake udon closer cooked view

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                Chikkoi Matsukake Udon

                And on that high note, we move to a lower note. While I appreciated the texture of the round, chewy udon included with this soup, the noodles unfortunately maintained some of the plastic taste of their vacuum packaging. I’ve yet to encounter this before, but it’s easy to see how it could happen. The broth was all right, and the little blossom-shaped fish cakes were pretty cute. All in all, this one was a miss for me.

                • mendokoro zaru udon front

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                • mendokoro zaru udon back

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                • mendokoro zaru udon trio

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                • mendokoro zaru udon cooked

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                  Mendokoro Zaru Udon

                  Umai Crate usually includes a three-pack of noodles to go along with any sauces or broths included in the delivery, so I was expecting something like these to arrive. What I wasn’t expecting was how much I would enjoy them—more than usual, anyway! This udon was salty, creamy, and after a quick 3 minutes of boiling, had the perfect bite. I’m delighted to have another two bundles to enjoy for later.

                  • sesame udon sauce packet front

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                  • sesame udon sauce packet back

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                  • sesame udon sauce packet all shown

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                  • sesame udon sauce packet mixed with noodles

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                    Sesame Sauce for Udon

                    As for this month’s sauce, I don’t usually get excited over sesame or peanut sauces, but this one took me by surprise as well. Like the noodles, it was creamy, but also very savory with interesting texture provided by pieces of crushed nuts. Another win—I’ll take it!

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                    • pokemon topping close up

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                      Bonus Item – Pokemon Topping

                      Just when I thought I’d seen it all, this month’s crate comes in hot with a noodle topping touting Pikachu-shaped fish cakes. They’re pretty cute, right? I also appreciated the mix of corn and seaweed because fish cakes don’t usually do it for me on their own. What a charming inclusion!

                      VerdictThis month’s Umai Crate was filled with flavors and experiences I wasn’t expecting, and it was a lot of fun to discover them all! Of course there were a few misses, but the hits heavily outweighed them. All of the unique inclusions in this box make UC’s curation feel reinspired and I really appreciate that. My favorite of the month was the akara ramen, hands down, with honorable mention to the kitsune udon with that big piece of flavorful tofu. With an average cost of $3.75 per item, I easily found the value (plus a lot of enjoyment) from this box.

                      To Wrap Up:

                      Can I still get this box if I sign up today? No, you will receive the October 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, a sauce trio, and a coordinating trio of udon, 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 September Umai Crate? Do you have any go-to add-ins for instant noodles?

                      How do subscribers rate Umai Crate?

                      3 subscribers rated this subscription
                      out of 5 stars
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                      Do you subscribe to Umai Crate? Add your rating now!

                      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 & Drink Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews, Umai Crate Reviews| Tags: umai crate | 2 comments


                      1. I love your review. This sub is so tempting. I live really close to a Korean market that has lots of Japanese noodles but this sub consistently has amazing variety. Hope you’re all better.

                        • Thanks, Alex! I’m hanging in there. Also, I totally agree with you—I live a few miles from a few decent Asian markets, but the promise of a solid curation showing up at my door with little to no effort on my part makes it worth it. Lemme know if you wind up giving this one a try!

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