Umai Crate Subscription Box Review + Coupon – October 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.
COUPON: Use code MSADD3 to save $3 off your first box.
The Products: 8-10 Japanese-exclusive instant noodle dishes + a culinary bonus item.
Ships: Worldwide for free!
Umai Crate October 2019 Review
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 natto miso creamy udon.
If you’re down for some sodium-rich content, grab a glass of water and let’s get into it.
Umikaro Gomoku Vegetable Soy Sauce Ramen
Originally, I was a little bummed I didn’t have more vegetables lying around to add to this bowl, but the dried vegetables included wound up being more generous than I thought they’d be! The soy sauce broth and chewy, wavy noodles of this instant ramen were conventional, yet satisfying.
These noodles have popped up quite a few times in Umai Crate‘s past, but I always enjoy them, so it’s far from a disappointment. The ramen was springy while the soy sauce and sesame soup was classic and perfectly savory. The addition of sesame seeds was a nice touch as well. This pack is a great base for all kinds of toppings.
I’ve also received these in the past, but much like the previous ramen, they’re delicious, so I didn’t really mind the repeat appearance. Also like the noodles mentioned above, these are a fantastic canvas for all kinds of protein and vegetables! My on-hand topping options this month were pretty sparing, but if I’d made a grocery run before diving into this review, I would have opted for a soft-boiled egg, some spinach, and shredded carrots to go with the warm, deep broth of these noodles.
Natto Miso Soup
If you’ve never had natto before, it’s sort of an acquired taste—a taste I’ve yet to fully acquire for myself. Natto is a Japanese dish made from soybeans fermented with a specific kind of live culture. I received this same item back in December of last year and didn’t really care for it, but decided to give it another try in hopes my tastes have perhaps matured. This time around, I still noticed the vinegary scent after pouring in the hot water, but the taste was much milder than I recall. Is the formulation different? Have I matured after all? Whatever it is, I’m not mad about it.
Cold Bukkake Tanukisoba
Once your brow relaxes from reading the name of these soba noodles, know this: the title in this context refers to the type of soup used. This particular soup combines kelp and shiitake mushrooms for a deep, savory base, and comes with a packet of crispy shrimp tempura puffs to enjoy on top. The info booklet said to drain this soba three times in cold water, but I didn’t feel like eating these chilled, so I had them warm. To heat things up even further, I sprinkled some shichimi spice on one side and some of this month’s spicy curry powder on the other side. That was the right move, because both spices lent a lot of interesting flavor in addition to the earthy soba and savory sauce.
Kameda Kakinotane Wasabi Yakisoba
This is, without a doubt, my favorite item of the month, and exactly the kind of treat I expect to find in a subscription such as this. These noodles forego the soup via a drain built into the top of the container, and instead of having a broth, they’re mixed with an oil, soy sauce, bonito, and kelp flavor for a magical umami experience with all the bold flavor of wasabi, sans the sinus-burning heat. But, what is the point of wasabi noodles without any spice, you wonder? Well, you’ll find heat in the crunchy puffs that top the dish, which also make for a unique textural experience. These were so good!
This udon is meant to pair with the soup mix reviewed below. I was surprised to see the recommended cook time was 6 minutes, as most noodles of this type cook up perfectly in about 3-4 minutes. Despite a lengthier stint in boiling water, these noodles had great texture and an excellent amount of bite. They were also a little thicker than a lot of other udon bundles I’ve received from this subscription. Right before the noodles were finished boiling, I set aside about 2 cups of water to mix with this month’s udon soup mix.
Kappo White Udon Soup
I was pleased to see the info booklet included a water measurement for mixing into this soup powder, because previously, Umai Crate wouldn’t provide such information, and I’d wind up just winging it. This particular box comes with six packets, once of which I stirred into two cups of water and added to the noodles above. The flavor was mild and pleasant, which will allow any topping and additional spices to really shine. This soup mix was also an excellent vehicle for this month’s bonus item, discussed below!
Bonus Item – Spicy Curry Powder
Back when I first started reviewing this box, I received a few different spice blends, all of which I liked and enjoyed using to enhance noodles that were lacking in personality. This spicy curry powder seamlessly pairs with most of what arrived in this month’s box, and will continue to be a fine match for many the noodles that are in my future.
Verdict: This month’s Umai Crate was really nice! There were some old favorites, some new and interesting additions, and flavors I’ll gladly enjoy more than once. The wasabi noodles were my favorite, no question, and I’ll be hunting around the internet to see where I can stock up on such a unique treat. An average cost of $3.75 per item might seem steep for instant noodles, but considering the curation, exclusivity, and some items containing multiple servings, I think the value is definitely there.
To Wrap Up:
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? No, you will receive the November 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.
COUPON: Use code MSADD3 to save $3 off your first box.
Value Breakdown: This box is $30 a month with free shipping. I received five instant noodle packages, a pack of natto miso soup, a pack of udon, and a 6-count box of soup mix, 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 October Umai Crate? Do you have any go-to add-ins for instant noodles?
The Japan Crate family of subscription boxes includes Japan Crate (candies and... read more.