BonAppetour: In the Making

BonAppetour: In the Making

This feels so surreal; sitting here and writing for this blog when just a week ago we embarked on this journey of BonAppetour.

Who would have imagined that this fast paced entrepreneurial culture that is the spirit of places such as Silicon Valley would find its way to the renowned fashion capital – Milan? StartUp Weekend Milan was a huge surprise for us! 180 exited people, 60 amazing ideas and participants from different parts of Italy and of the world!

How did it work? The mechanism was simple; for those who wanted to share their ideas, they had one minute to present an elevated pitch to explain the idea and would need three attendees to vote for support. Once the ideas were chosen, participants were free to decide and follow the idea that appealed to them most. 

It was not easy deciding which idea to follow, but it all came down to which idea was simple, had a strong concept and was addressing an explicit need. The idea pitched by Rinita had checked all these prerequisites.  It is 2013, and if people can sleep in someone’s house, or travel with a local, why can’t we do the same with food? 

Globalisation, the internet and a more community-centric society has brought about social trends that seemed impossible just a decade ago. If you had asked a stranger in the 90s if it was okay to rent a room at his place while you were travelling, he’d think you would have lost it. Yet today, services such as these are widespread across the World Wide Web. This is owed largely to the boom in social media platforms that have made communication so much easier. Society has experienced a paradigm change in many of the things we do.

We no longer want exquisite luxury hotels or the cut out touristic experience, but rather we want to engulf within the reality of the places we travel to. We long for more than just sightseeing – we desire to live an experience.  What better way to do that than taste traditional authentic local cuisines by eating with locals, mingling with them, that just costs a small amount of money? I would absolutely love to do that!

With a retrospect on my previous trips, this service would have saved me from a lot of bad experiences: fast food addiction, endless bills at pricey restaurants and bad tasting food. Also, what about the price? I recollect my vacation to Palma Di Mallorca while I was a student on a tight budget. Eating a jar of olives began to be a staple, trying to avoid spending an exhaustive amount of time cooking pasta in the hostel (which I did!).

Coming back to BonAppetour, everyone in our group caught onto this simple yet ingenious idea. Which is why just after a week, we are here continuing on this project, believing in what we ourselves would love to do when we are abroad.

The StartUp weekend was a mix of emotions for us all. It was exciting, nerve-wrecking and extremely fun! In just two days, with complete strangers on the team, we were able to not only connect but to realize the idea as well. A team consisting of people from all walks of lives bagged with their own sets of skills and expertise, we were a perfect mix!

We are a international team with members coming from Romania, Italy, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and even Russia! The amazing thing was we could all connect to this one idea although we come from such different social backgrounds and this only makes more evident why we should push ourselves to materialise it.

An example of how we bonded and were so excited is shown in the filming of a short movie over those two days at StartUp Weekend. It was a Saturday evening at about 11 P.M., and we had a crazy idea to shoot a movie. Was it madness or ingenious? We’ll leave it to you to decide once you’ve watched the video 😉 (We’d prefer to go with ingenious! Haha).

Thanks to our mate Adrian who has an extensive amount of tricks up his sleeves (no kidding, he literally can do almost everything!) and had experience in film-making, helped us create a rather funny short movie to showcase to the others in the StartUp Weekend when we pitch our idea.

Going back to the finals day, we were all nervous and adrenaline had kicked in from working overnight for the past forty-eight hours. We gave our very best, stepped front and presented our idea to the mass of people gathered. In just one minute we had to deliver an idea that we were passionate about and thought was worth pursuing.  Just like in any competition, when you see others presenting, you feel they did much better so much so that we were discussing continuing the project even if we lost!

To our surprise, when it came to announcing the winners, after the second runner up and first runner up were announced (just about when we thought we didn’t get it), BonAppetour was awarded the winner of StartUp Weekend Milan. I still remember that exhilarating moment with all of us jumping frantically hearing the announcement.

So here we are, beginning on the chapters that will lead towards the development of BonAppetour. We hope to continue creating the BonAppetour experience despite being in different countries – we still believe in this idea and are working hard to share it with the rest of the world. We are working towards a vision – to allow you to be guests at homes of others, to cook together whilst exchanging experiences and laughing together on the same dining table.

We hope you enjoy it, we most definitely do.

Signing off,


PS: Watch the video we created!

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Dining in Singapore: Feastin’ with Locals!

Dining in Singapore: Feastin’ with Locals!

Mention food and dining in Singapore, and one immediately conjures up images of vibrant hawker centres, posh restaurants, popular eateries and cosy cafes – dining options that make up the local food scene.

There may be a great variety of eateries in Singapore, but these are not the only ways to explore and feast on Singaporean dishes. Home dining experiences are also a great way to savour and discover more about the well-loved local delights.

Join us, as we introduce you to three Singaporeans hosts who welcome you with homely and hearty dining experiences!

Traditional Chinese Cuisine: Dine with Felice

Step into a beautiful home, and inhale the welcoming aroma that wafts out of the kitchen. Make your way to the dining room, and you will be wowed by the array of delectable dishes laid out on the table.

In the middle of the table lies an impressive-looking dish, a plate filled with succulent, tender slices of roast pork belly. A variety of hearty and wholesome selections, such as tangy yuzu-honey prawns, steamed mushrooms with minced meat, chewy Hakka yam abacus and seabream cooked in a savoury black bean sauce are served as scrumptious accompaniments.

Malay Delights: Feast with Hanim

A mound of steamed rice lies on a plate with a large pandan leaf laid upon it. A variety of yummy-looking sides fill up the plate – crispy chicken, cool slices of cucumber, fried anchovies, fragrant, crunchy peanuts and a sunny side-up egg.

Tuck into the rice, and you will be surprised by how wonderfully fragrant it is. The secret to the irresistible fragrance of the nasi lemak lies in the use of two ingredients in the preparation of the rice – coconut milk and pandan leaves.

This may be a satisfying and hearty dish, but do make space in your stomach for desserts, for a cold, creamy bowlful of bubur chacha will be served as a sweet treat to end off a satisfying meal.

Indian Flavours: Rooftop Dining with Amrita

Arrive at Amrita’s, and be prepared to tingle your tastebuds with a wide selection of Indian dishes from different regions within the country.

Traditional Biryani rice, a Southern specialty consisting of tender grains with a hint of aromatic spices, will be served, along with a rich chicken gravy. Other Northern delights, such as a smooth, creamy paneer and chapatis, a type of flatbread, will also be prepared. This delicious meal will be enjoyed at Amrita’s rooftop terrace, a lovely spot boasting scenic views.

Gorgeous views and a wonderful dinner – who can say no to this delightful dining experience?

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A Day of Feasting in Italy

A Day of Feasting in Italy

Breakfast: Do as the Romans Do

When in Rome, eat as the Romans do!

Wake up to a fragrant cup of frothy, well-made cappuccino. The milk is perfectly frothed, such that a thin layer of foam remains on the top of your lips after each mouthful. Satiate your hungry tummy with a tempting selection of pastries such as soft brioche and buttery croissants.

Lunch: Munch on Tigelle

Are you ready for a Tigellata Experience?

Tuck into tigelle, a small, round and thick flat bread that originated from Modena. The dough for the tigelle is made from wheat flour, water and salt.

The Tigellata Experience is not complete without a spread of scrumptious accompaniments to go with the bread – we have been told that cold cuts, homemade pesto modenese, vinegars, jams and cheeses with mustard and grilled vegetables are going to be laid out on the table. Mmm!

Dinner: Feast like a King

After two mouthwatering meals, make some space in your stomach for an excellent dinner, for a spread of Roman delicacies await.

Get ready to savour dishes such as bruschette al pomodoro, which are crisp slices of toasted bread with tomato. Next, tuck into the rigatoni alla carbonara, a pasta dish with a combination of ingredients such as eggs, bacon, parmigiano and pecorino cheese, topped with a sprinkle of heady black pepper.

Taste the succulent slices of porchetta, which refers to pork marinated with a variety of fragrant spices, and sample mouthfuls of cicoria ripassata, a dish made from sauteed local vegetables.

A perfect meal does not end without dessert, and this one is no different. A creamy tiramisu is served at the end of this satisfying dinner.

Looking for more local dining experiences in Italy? Explore our BonAppetour hosts page here!

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