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Kitchen & Cooking

I’m in love with this new Asian grocery delivery service

Finally, I don’t have to leave the house to find my favorite pantry staples.

Inside a box of Umamicart grocery delivery: Credit: Mischelle Moy

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This pandemic has changed the way I shop. I quickly ditched the desire to touch my produce before purchasing and transitioned instead to ordering my grocery items online. But mainstream grocery delivery services have their limitations. From hyper-specific soy sauce brands to specialty cuts of meat, I’ve had trouble finding the ingredients my family uses for cooking when it comes to most delivery services. Enter: Umamicart, an online grocer specializing in Asian food that helps me cook authentically at home.

What is Umamicart?

On a yellow table, there are various types of instant ramen, luosifen, udon noodles, white rice, and more scattered around.
Credit: Mischelle Moy

Umamicart offers a good selection of grains and noodles.

Launched in March 2021, Umamicart is an online grocery delivery service that caters to Asian cooks. The current inventory leans heavily East Asian, but it’s expanding to reach a wider audience—I recently noticed the addition of UFC spaghetti sauce and Mang Thomas lechon pork liver sauce, which are both Filipino cooking staples.

Its main categories are organized similarly to grocery store aisles: Fruits, Vegetables, Meats and Tofu, Seafood, Grains, Snacks and Drinks, and Pantry. Additionally, there is a collection-based category, which includes Hot Pot, Summer Grill Kit, Dumpling Class. There’s also a recipe-based category, which essentially lets you shop all the ingredients needed for a certain dish, such as Okonomiyaki by Otafuku and Braised Pork by Lee Kum Kee.

How does Umamicart work?

A collection of condiments for Asian cooking. From the top left: picked ginger, Chinese barbecue sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, seasoning, lao gan ma chili crisp, lao gan ma broad bean paste, and fermented tofu. From the bottom left: soy sauce for steaming fish, oyster sauce, Japanese curry cubes, chingkiang black vinegar, kikoman soy sauce, shoyu, miso paste.
Credit: Mischelle Moy

The Pantry 101 Collection is great for people who recognize the packaging but can't read the labels.

The gamified user interface is fun and easy to navigate. For instance, the Pantry 101 collection directs you to an image of some common condiments used in Asian cooking—soy sauce, oyster sauce, miso paste, and the S&B Golden Curry cubes, which I keep on hand at all times. This is especially helpful for Asian-Americans who grew up with these condiments and might recognize the packaging better than reading the labels.

All you need to do is to click on the exact product and add it to your shopping cart—essentially an interactive virtual version of in-store grocery shopping. Once an order is placed, you’ll receive a confirmation email followed by tracking information.

Where does Umamicart deliver?

On a table, there's a large pink pomelo, a papaya, some oranges, and a dragon fruit.
Credit: Mischelle Moy

Umamicart delivers to a number of states in the Northeast.

Umamicart is available in select metro New York areas with same-day delivery, and in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware with next-day delivery. Delivery is free for orders over $49, or $6.99 for orders that don’t meet the minimum for free delivery.

What I like

A typical Korean barbecue spread with a iron barbecue stove in the middle, grilling sliced pork belly. Around the stove, there are plates of thinly sliced meat, pickled vegetables, and sauces.
Credit: Mischelle Moy

I appreciate the convenience of shopping from the recipe-based collections.

The selection of fresh produce is large and regularly growing. Umamicart stocks a number of types of meat and specialty cuts that aren’t offered at typical U.S. grocery stores, such as beef tongue, honeycomb tripe, thick pork belly with skin on, silkie chicken, and salted duck eggs.

If you’re an experienced home chef, you’ll likely find all the ingredients you’d normally buy at an Asian grocery store. Its rotating line of offerings updates regularly to keep shoppers happy.

Unlike H-mart, which often has limited inventory that captures only mainstream staples imported from Asia, Umamicart carries trendy direct-to-consumer Asian American food brands like Fly by Jing Chili Crisp and Sanzo sparkling water. Brands like these have a massive online following but aren’t widely available for purchase in brick-and-mortar stores.

I also like that all items were packed in non-plastic and easily recyclable materials.

What I don’t like

As it’s still pretty new, Umamicart currently has a limited delivery zone. I’d love to see them expand to reach more zip codes so I’ll be able to send care packages to family and friends on the West Coast!

Is Umamicart worth it?

A package of pork bone broth instant ramen is next to a package of  instant Jjajiang noodles.
Credit: Mischelle Moy

If you live in one of their delivery zones and are curious about Asian cooking, Umamicart is a great place to source ingredients online.

Absolutely! Besides the traditional staples my family has always used the kitchen, I’m excited to continue to browse through the Asian-American-owned food brands that tell unique stories about their journeys being both Asian and American.

For people who aren’t as familiar with Asian cooking but want to learn, the collection- and recipe-based products are a great place to start. Take the Sushi Kit for example: It includes everything you’ll need for making sushi at home, from nori sheets to mirin, which is perfect for special occasions or even a date night Most of all, I love that Umamicart delivers my favorite groceries to me in recyclable packaging, and I don’t ever have to leave my couch.

Try Umamicart

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