BonAppetour – Changing the way you dine & travel!
August 29, 2016

BonAppetour - Our Home dining experience with a Singapore host - Bumble Bee Mum

If you have never heard of BonAppetour, you have NO idea what you’re missing out.

Video Source: BonAppetour

Named one of 8 start-ups that’ll make your travel experiences so much better by CNN, BonAppetour is set to change the way you dine while travelling.  And get this: BonAppetour is a Singapore-based startup! Woohoo! Yay Singapore!


If you love travelling, I am sure you will be familiar with the likes of AirBnB or Homeaway  (where local hosts offer up their homes for travellers) and how they have redefined our accommodation choices.  Similarly, BonAppetour is redefining our dining choices by letting travellers visit a local host’s home for a home-cooked meal!

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I am somewhat reserved where sharing economy is concerned.  While I love the idea of interaction with the locals, I am not ready to stay under the same roof with a host.  Last year, during our famhouse stay in Kyoto, our host stayed in the house just next doors and we had plenty of opportunities to interact with him.  I knew from then that having the opportunity to interact closely with a local host is a priceless experience that can enhance our travels.

Which is why I was so excited when I found out about BonAppetour.  It opened up the opportunity for us travellers to interact closely with locals and visit a local home, without having to go to the extent of staying with them.  Though I think my boys were on the verge of staying over at our BonAppetour host’s place – you’ll see why.

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BonAppetour has some really exciting listings in Japan.  They have hosts in major cities Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto offering travellers unique experiences including:

Pretty cool right??

Our BonAppetour Experience in Singapore

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We were invited by BonAppetour to try out their service, and to make life easier for myself, I decided to try it out right here in Singapore. I surfed through their range of Singapore hosts and was spoiled for choice.  How do I choose between:

etc etc…?

So I contacted a few hosts with my preferred dates, checked with them on kids pricing and suitability of the food for my children etc and finally decided to go with Singapore Seafood Delicacies by hosts Alizah & Raja.

Alizah & Raja’s home was located in a typical Singapore residential area.  It was a short 5 minutes walk from the nearest MRT station, and you will get a glimpse of regular life in Singapore as you make your way to her humble HDB flat.  (HDB flats are our public housing and today, there are more than 1 million HDB flats in Singapore, housing over 80% of Singapore’s resident population.  Info Source: HDB website)

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We arrived 15 minutes before the scheduled time and Raja was already busy cooking in the kitchen.  Alizah welcomed us warmly and made us feel right at home.  The boys helped themselves to the TV, the keyboard, the playstation…  Gosh, they took the phrase ‘make yourselves at home’ a bit too literally.  I was a bit paiseh (embarrassed) but Alizah was totally cool about it.

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With the kids well-entertained, Alizah showed us around her home and brought out some drinks for us while waiting for the food to be served.

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When the food was served, the kids rushed over to the table to help themselves.

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MY attacked the squid first.  I dashed over to pop a piece into my mouth to see if they were easy to chew.  Because more often than not, when we order fried calamari, they are so hard to chew and the kids end up spitting them out, or worse, choking.

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The squid that Raja prepared were so soft and easy to bite!  It was such a delight for both kids and adults.

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MF, on the other hand, was glued to the vegetable dish. Okay, I think he was more interested in the fish cake in the vegetable dish.  And the gravy, which we kept scooping and drizzling all over his rice.

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Me, of course, was here for the seafood.  Since the salted egg prawn was placed in front of me, I happily helped myself to them.  NON-STOP.  They were SO GOOD!! Omg, my stomach is growling as I’m writing this, just recalling how yummy the salted egg prawns were.

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The other dish in front of me was the clams.  I LOVED THEM! I should have taken a photo of the pile of clam shells next to me at the end of the meal.  I ate A LOT.

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Just like the prawns, the clams were super fresh.  And they were so plump and juicy.  Mmm…

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The chili crab came out last.  Singapore is well-known for chili crab, and the ones that Raja prepared was slightly different from what you get at Chinese restaurants like Jumbo. The Jumbo ones are a tad sweeter, whereas Raja’s one was spicier – because he added his own homemade chili mixture.  Reminded me of how my mother-in-law would grind her own chili mixture when she wants to make chili crab.

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I loved Raja’s chili crab sauce because I love spicy food.  As we Singaporeans would say, the chili was so shiok (err.. meaning.. got kick?).  And chili crab is usually served with fried buns for us to dip into the sauce.  The kids love these fried buns, they would just eat them plain.

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By now the kids were done with their food and they had gone off to entertain themselves with whatever they could find in the house.

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I was SO glad I was not dining in a restaurant.  If you have tried eating crabs when out with kids, you would know it can be a pain. Trying to juggle the kids and the crabs.  I have new-found appreciation for home dining – it gets the kids out of the way while I slowly enjoy my food and chatter with the host.

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As if we were not full enough, Raja brought out dessert.  Which for us was jelly with longan.

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And Alizah made us coffee, which we sipped while continuing our chats with her.

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Besides the seafood delicacies menu, Raja & Alizah have other menus on BonAppetour:

We learned from Alizah that Raja had appeared on a cooking show before, with his halal bak kut teh.  Traditional bak kut teh uses pork, but his halal version used beef.   This was not part of the seafood delicacies menu, but Raja prepared it for us to try.  It was so unique  and the beef was so tender!!

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Throughout the whole dinner, I felt like I was dining at an old friend’s home.  The conversations flowed freely throughout the meal, and we were there from 7.30pm to 10pm, leaving only because it was the kids’ nap time.  Everyone was having so much fun!  I am totally sold to the BonAppetour experience.  If you visiting Singapore and pondering where to eat in Singapore, how about giving BonAppetour a try?

Heck it, even if you are a Singaporean, there is nothing stopping you from visiting Singapore hosts and making new friends while at it!

Tips for Using BonAppetour

  1.  From BonAppetour’s homepage, I recommend you click on ‘Cities’ use the top search bar to search the city you are visiting.  This will bring you to the whole list of hosts for that city and from there, you can browse through their menus and reviews.
  2. Review reviews, read the reviews.  Like all sharing economy concepts, reviews play the most important role in ensuring a safe platform.
  3. Hit the ‘Contact Host’ button.   Don’t be in such a hurry to click ‘Book Now’.  Scroll down to find ‘Contact Host’ and send a message to the host to introduce yourself.  Raise any special requests you may have (special dietary needs, child-friendly food, pricing for children etc.) first.  Also check for minimum party size.
  4. If you are going to be in the city for a couple of days and are flexible with the date, let the host know.  Some hosts are only able to make it for weekends, or do a late dinner on weekdays, due to work commitments.  So it would be good to give them a range of dates / timing to work with.
  5. You can make requests for adjustments to the menu.  Make sure you confirm the final menu and number of pax, and the host will accept your booking, stating the final pricing for your party.
  6. If you are happy with the pricing and menu, proceed to book from your Inbox. You have a choice to pay with credit card or paypal.
  7. After payment is made, BonAppetour will send you an email with the address and contact information of the host.  Make sure you familiarize yourself with how to get to the host’s place and check with the host if you have any doubts.
  8. Arrive on the day of your booking and enjoy!

Things to watch out for

Just like any sharing economy, it is understandable that there are concerns in terms of safety and hygiene.  It takes a leap of faith – just like the first time you booked a BnB or the first time you hopped into a Uber car.  Once you have tried it out once, there is not turning back and this sharing economy service is your new best friend. Of course, please read the reviews and chat with the host to get a good feel before booking.

It is also reassuring to note that BonAppetour holds on to your payment and pays to the host 24 hours AFTER your dining.  So if you have had any problems with the host (e.g. not delivering the menu as promised), I recommend that you bring it up to BonAppetour IMMEDIATELY after the meal for them to mediate before the payment is sent to the host.

If for any reason you need to cancel your booking (e.g. change of travel plans), full refund excluding fees will be given if you cancel 24 hours prior to booking.   If you cancel within 24 hours, refund is at the discretion of the host.  (Be fair! They probably bought all the ingredients for your meal already.)  >> Read BonAppetour’s cancellation policy.

And just a minor complaint on my part, I felt somewhat handicapped by the lack of a mobile app for BonAppetour, especially while messaging the hosts. Make sure you use an active email account to sign up for your BonAppetour account.  I made the mistake of using an email address that is very badly spammed (because I used Facebook to sign up for my BonAppetour account and c’mon, how many of your Facebook email addresses are crazy spammed by now?), so the email notifications from BonAppetour telling me that the host has sent me a message kept getting lost in hundreds of spam mails.  I had to log in to BonAppetour site from time to time to see if I missed any messages.  I thought a mobile app with a messaging system would solve the problem.

Get USD15 Sign-Up Bonus!

If you are ready to try out BonAppetour, here is how you can get USD15 credit.  Simply sign for your BonAppetour account using my referral link below:

> My Referral Link <

Note that the discount code for the USD15 credit is only valid for 6 days upon signing up and for a minimum purchase of USD100.  This means that, while there is no restriction on the date of your dining, you have to complete the booking with the discount code within 6 days of signing up.

[disclaim]Disclosure: If you successfully book your BonAppetour experience with the sign-up bonus from my referral link above, I will also receive USD15 credit.  Thank you very much! 🙂 [/disclaim]

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BonAppetour - Our Home dining experience with a Singapore host - Bumble Bee Mum

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  • Sooo very interesting. I too like the idea of meeting locals, but with children in tow, I don’t normally book Airbnb’s unless we have the entire place. This is a cool idea for the local interaction, but not much commitment. And to try REAL local food. I will look it up! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin #MondayEscapes

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yes yes, same here. I only book whole apartments because our kids can be quite a nuisance to our host (I think). But that way I feel we are missing out on the local interactions. That’s really why I love this BonAppetour concept so much!

      Copenhagen! I’m headed there next Summer. Let me hop over to your blog for ideas! 🙂

  • Notmyyearoff says:

    You’ve made me feel so hungry with all that food. The salted egg prawns sound amazing, I’ve never had anything like that before. And the beef dish looks so good too!

  • Lolo says:

    What an interesting way to travel! I’ve never heard of this before and I really love getting to experience authentic food wherever I travel. But I don’t know if I would be comfortable going to a stranger’s home. Maybe one day Ill try it out! #CityTripping

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It’s interesting, isn’t it? Yeah, the idea of going to a stranger’s home can be quite scary. But I think travellers are slowly warming up to the idea with the likes of Coachsurfing and AirBnb setting the precedence. Nevertheless I wouldn’t go alone, do drag your fiancé along!

  • Mmmmmmmm this sounds delicious and I do love the idea. I stay in AirBNB a lot although always with the whole place to ourselves but it’s great to get insider tips from the hosts. And a home cooked meal plus chance to connect (then leave!) sounds a great balance. I’ve heard of similar options before but have never tried with kids as I assumed it was more for adults but you have me convinced. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Exactly my thoughts on how staying in BnB with the whole place of ourselves is just lacking in that opportunity to interact with the locals. Except for maybe 30 minutes of “Hi, any questions? No? Enjoy your stay!” if the host comes to the apartment to welcome us.

      I totally hear your concerns about the kids! Which is why I sent out messages to a number of hosts to sound out how receptive they are to hosting kids. I can totally understand why some hosts may not want to host my kids frankly… I wouldn’t want to host my own kids if I could help it.. LOL!!! But you’ll be surprised, some of the hosts are parents themselves and would be more than happy for our kids to go over to play with their kids!

  • This looks amazing! So many delicious foods. The bento one looked fun too.

  • mmlittlee says:

    I saw you posted this and I was finding time to read it! Finally did! Oh gosh! You even had Chilli Crab! What a treat really and yes I get you about not being able to eat crabs with kids around [any kind of crabs]. In the comfort of a home with toys and games to entertain the children with, it’s definitely a lot more feasible. I think my husband will find it rather awkward to do this with me though I love to socialise over meals and drinks. Safety was my first concern but as long as they are licensed and registered? It should be fine? #CityTripping

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Frankly I’m not too sure how licensing would work out in the various countries? To me, this is just like Coachsurfing, AirBnb, HomeAway, Uber, GrabCar etc. Personally, I don’t expect an AirBnB to be subject to the same scrutiny as a hotel, just as I won’t expect BonAppetour hosts to be scrutinized the same way as a restaurant. Where the sharing economy is concerned, everyone is at different comfort levels. Some are perfectly happy to coachsurf, some totally shy away from such services due to security concerns. Security concerns are understandable definitely, just like when online shopping first started, people were afraid to key in credit card details onto the internet, afraid that goods will not be delivered after paying etc. But nowadays few people think twice about shopping online. For me, I feel the sharing economy has matured to a stage where there is general trust between consumers and service providers at large, though you can never totally eradicate the bad eggs. Which is why I think reviews are the most important aspect for any sharing economy.

  • Ahhh! This is the COOLEST!! I’m so going to look this up right now and see what I can find. This is the most amazing idea for traveling. I always use airBnB and try to get really authentic experiences when abroad so this is right up my alley! Thanks for sharing and bringing this to my attention:D

  • I love this concept! You get to learn so much more about the local culture if you eat with locals! I was invited for whale goulash by a local in Greenland and I learned more of the country in that one evening than I’d ever had otherwise!

  • tots2travel says:

    What a wonderful experience. Especially if you’re not local and want to taste authentic flavours. Love it.

  • This is incredible!! As a huge Air bnb and Couchsurfing fan, this is right up my street! Sadly, there are none in Santiago (yet) as I just checked but I am going to see where else I can find some! Thanks so much for sharing 😀

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Aww, pity they don’t have a host near you. I think their presence is strongest in Europe. I searched the major cities near me (Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong) and found quite a number of hosts in the region. I’m really excited to see how far they can expand, especially since they are a local start-up and partially funded by our government. If you do travel to regions where they have a good selection of hosts, don’t forget to try them out! 🙂

  • Mandy says:

    I’ve heard of the home dining experience but not Bon Appetour specifically. Looks like a great option for families who want to try new things but are worried about their kids being into everything. Although I must admit I was a bit surprised to see some kids toys in some of the pictures you posted from this experience; did you bring some toys or were the toys I saw owned by the host?

    I’ll have to consider doing this kind of dining experience in the future! It looks like a lot of fun! 🙂

    • bumblebeemum says:

      The toys were the host’s! I encourage families with young children to contact the hosts before booking to check if they can host children and whether they have stuff in their homes to keep the children occupied while waiting for the food. You’ll be surprised, many of the hosts are parents themselves and some of them even have pools in the homes for example and would tell us we can bring the kids swimmers along to let them swim etc.

      Home dining is a lot of fun! Hope you get to try it out some time. 🙂

  • The food looks so yummy and I love that you can connect with locals and pick their brains as well as their food. It’s also a far more relaxing experience than going to a restaurant when you have children in tow. Good tips too. #citytripping

  • budget jan says:

    Hi, I’m one of the co-hosts of Travel Photo Thursday and I’m so glad you shared this post on Bonappetour. I had not heard of it before and think it is a wonderful way to meet locals and eat local food.

  • Ahila says:

    That’s a lovely review of your BonAppetour experience and yes, why not try out the experience in your own city? 🙂 Sounds like a wonderful experience.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I know right.. I was telling my friends about BonAppetour and they were like, next time we want to meet up for high tea, we should just skip the restaurants and just plant ourselves at one of these hosts’ home!

  • Vlad says:

    I had a BonAppetour experience in Berlin and it’s been awesome. It is such a great way to get to know the locals and chat about the place you’re visiting. #citytripping

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It is, isn’t it? I remembered being tickled by how you ended up chatting about Pokemon Go with your host! We were playing Pokemon Go at our host’s home at one point, because her home had access to a Pokestop.. Lol.

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