Umamicart, an online Asian grocer that delivers packaged and fresh ingredients directly to your home, is no Fresh Direct — and it’s not trying to be. Instead, it offers a curated selection of Asian products and ingredients that you may have trouble finding in the conventional chain grocery store.
You won’t see an endless number of products to shop on Umamicart, which has its pros, including limiting that paradox of choice and feeling of being overwhelmed, and its cons, like not always being able to find the exact item you’re looking for.
Still, there’s plenty to browse, and you can do so by category while enjoying Umamicart’s very cute branding.
Thanks to Umamicart, I was finally able to cook a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for years: a vegan bahn mi from the cookbook “Vegetarian Viet Nam” by Cameron Stauch.
If you’ve ever tasted a bahn mi, which is a seriously succulent Vietnamese sandwich, you know that it’s built upon complex flavors. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi to the bahn mi that can’t at all be mimicked by an American deli sandwich (consider this the understatement of the year).
Give credit to the long, long list of ingredients for the bahn mi’s impeccable range of flavors. For a vegan take, I needed to find fish-free versions of the specific Asian condiments the recipe called for, and Umamicart delivered — literally.
For one of the most complicated recipes I’ve ever decided to tackle, Umamicart provided almost everything I needed. I also ordered some extra ingredients to play around with outside of the recipe, because I just couldn’t help myself. Here’s what I purchased, all for around $50:
The only thing I couldn’t find on Umamicart was a baguette. This wasn’t tough to remedy with a visit to my neighborhood grocer.
My box arrived in about a day — quick! — and, while properly padded to keep cold and protected from physical damage, it was packaged with very minimal plastic, which is always a plus in my book.
Everything presented as expected — the sauces were bottled, the tofu skins frozen — except for the fresh produce. As part of the “Cooking Essentials Herb Combo,” I received a half pound of red Thai chilis, of which I only needed about two little pieces. Thai chilis are very small compared to, say, a bell pepper, so a half pound added up to what looked like 100-plus little peppers (regrettably, I didn’t count them). Abundance is almost always exciting, but there was no way I was going to get through this many chilis before they went bad. I didn’t consider how many would come in this produce package — certainly a lesson for next time. Umamicart doesn’t currently offer a smaller quantity selection on its site, which is a slight inconvenience compared to the weigh-and-pay option often available at the brick-and-mortar grocery store. (That said, I don’t think my local grocer carries thai chilis in any quantity, so in this case, it’s better to have more t
We tried Umamicart, the grocery service that delivers delicious Asian foods right to your door
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