I’ve been eyeing these “monthly mystery boxes” for a while now and caved in last month when I read about the Umai box on facebook. These services where you pay a monthly fee and get some Japanese candy in return have been around for a while but I haven’t encountered any for instant ramen yet. I’m a huge ramen nerd in general and when I used to work as a dental technician back in the day I had a nice bowl of instant ramen each morning. For breakfast. Not the most healthy choice but I just had that insane instant ramen craving at that time. So when I read the review I just thought that it would be a nice surprise especially because my girl just discovered instant ramen for herself and it’s never too late to educate yourself in the vast world of instant noodles.
Japan Crate is offering four different boxes you can subscribe to: Umai Crate (filled with instant ramen), a box with cute Japanese merchandise, one with Japanese beauty products (great idea because many of their stuff is pretty sought after in Europe) and their core business – the candy box. Tony Hawk is actually selecting the September 17 contents. Not the most obvious choice but he really is a likeable guy.
After ordering the Umai Crate I did some searching around and discovered a bunch of different websites Exotic Noods which basically offer the same service. The base price at Umai Crates is 25$/month (w free shipping) which you can cancel anytime until the next box gets shipped. The price gets cheaper if you decide to pre-pay for a couple of months but to try it out I just ordered one box and left it at that. What differentiates Umai Crate from it’s competitors – well the outer shipping box alone is just so well designed and if you’re paying a premium you really want the full package. Or at least I do. It’s a little treat from Japan and all the little details and nice packaging make it a pretty surprise.
Each box contains 7-8 noodle packages and a small mystery gift. There is also a little “booklet” included which leaves a few notes to each ramen. Of course you pay a premium for these noodles but you pay more for the whole excitement of receiving a very nice looking box from Japan with some mystery content. In my first order there was some nice Yakisoba included which even had a small amount of Japanese mayonnaise inside.
Like always, I did some pictures for you guys so you can share my excitement. Will I order again? Most definitely. I’m not quite sure if I’ll go for a subscription because, yeah, the box is not cheap after all. But a nice instant ramen treat from time to time sounds nice.