I Tried Umamicart, a New Online Asian Grocer — Here’s My Honest Review
As a Filipino-American who grew up in the suburbs of Washington state, I remember having to drive an hour away to the nearest Asian market. Even now, as a Brooklyn resident, the closest Asian market is still about a 45-minute train ride away. Because I’m a recipe developer and a home cook who uses ingredients from many different Asian countries and cultures, having easy access to the groceries that inspire me is super important. That’s why I’m so glad that Umamicart exists now. You can try it now too as they’re holding a special sitewide Black Friday sale offering $10 off orders of $59+ with code UMAMI10 and $20 off $99+ with code UMAMI20..
What Is Umamicart?
Umamicart, which just launched in March of 2021, is a grocery delivery service that curates Asian products and ingredients (both fresh and shelf-stable!). Shoppers can choose from a wide selection of produce, meats, tofu, seafood, noodles, rice, grains, snacks, drinks, pantry items, frozen meals, and more. As of now, the platform currently services the Northeast, with hopes to expand nationwide. (You can find out if Umamicart delivers to you here.)
My Honest Umamicart Review
My first order consisted of pantry items that I commonly purchase and needed to restock, such as furikake, tteokbokki, bonito flakes, and kombu. While they didn’t carry my favorite brand of furikake, they did have one that I see in most Japanese markets, so it made for a great swap. I also ordered some produce and meat (mustard greens and Japanese short ribs) to see what the quality would be like.
The box arrived without any issues, two days after placing the order. (You can schedule exactly when you’d like your box to arrive.) I was also excited to find the mustard greens looking super fresh and the Korean short ribs in great condition. I used them to make bulgogi with a side of mustard greens and it was delicious.
Unfortunately, that order got delivered to my neighbor by mistake. (A simple human error and definitely not something I blame on Umamicart!) Because there was sashimi grade fish in the order, I was really worried when the box was nowhere to be found! But thankfully the folks at Umamicart packaged it so well, that my fish was still frozen by the time my neighbor delivered it to me that evening. Nothing was spoiled, but it was a good reminder to use the site to my advantage: Umamicart actually tells you the exact time your order was delivered, so if I had been checking, I would have seen that something was amiss earlier. A cool feature for sure.
After testing out the service, I will definitely be ordering from Umamicart again. The platform offers a lot of my favorite items and even if they don’t have my preferred brands, there is likely an option available. There are plenty of frozen finds and so many new-to-me products that I’d love to try in the future. The shipping is easy and customizable to your needs. If you need your order the very next day, that’s an option. But you can also schedule deliveries out a week in advance. The best part was how easy it was to source some of the harder-to-find ingredients that my local grocery store might not carry on a regular basis.
Because Umamicart is so new, I do have some hopes for the site’s future, as it grows and expands. First, I would love to see more transparent ingredient lists for all items that they carry. As a person with various mild food allergies, I like to read labels so I can make an informed decision. I bought a couple things that I didn’t know what was in them and now I can’t eat them. (My husband can eat them, so nothing will get wasted.)
And secondly, I would love for Umamicart to offer a more robust Filipino food selection. As a Filipino- American, I felt that the platform offered more Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Korean options. I also felt that it had a limited Southeast Asian selection. It would be cool to see some other common products (other than coconut milk and tocino), such as Silver Swan products, lumpia wrappers, sinigang packets, bagoong, patis, and champorado, all of which I was surprised not to see.
Umamicart is a great option for people who are not able to leave their homes for whatever reason, or live in an area where there aren’t many Asian grocery stores nearby. If you can and are able to shop in a local Chinatown, or a mom and pop small business, I encourage you to do that first. However, Umamicart is an excellent option for when those are not possible. I hope they expand to service more areas soon.
Want to try Umamicart for yourself? As part of their Black Friday promotion, you can save $10 off purchases of $59 or more with code UMAMI10 and $20 off purchases of $99 or more with code UMAMI20.