Why is Bulgarian yoghurt so famous in Japan?

One of my students was guessing that Meiji Foods or another Japanese manufacturer picked the name for one of their yoghurts from a random encyclopedia entry and everyone else just copied it. I’m sure real Bulgarian yoghurt is great, it being in the right part of the world, but in the UK the yoghurt from neighbouring Greece and Turkey are much more famous.
This is a question I’ve long wondered about, but has come up again after the inevitable “now yoghurt isn’t the most famous thing from Bulgaria” comment in today’s Japan Times after the victory of Kotooshu in the sumo



  1. azumarisan said,

    May 26, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Ohhh i love the “toruko aisu” you can buy in Hokkaido, it’s sooo yummy! It’s hard at first and you have to mix it around to get the right texture. I miss that so much! :)

  2. alexcase said,

    May 27, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Aha, that solves the next post I was going to make- why is there such a national “gelato” obsession at the moment in Japan (even though most of it is nothing like the real Italian stuff). Now that you mention dondurma (which is the Turkish name for the stretchy ice-cream) it occurs to the that the answer is quite simple- ice cream in most countries is a steady thing, but in Japan is the perfect thing for yet another fad

  3. Marinco said,

    July 21, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Ok…guys…. it’s only one original and it’s made in Bulgaria..
    simple as – the bacteria only grow in specific plase in Bulgaria..


  4. alexcase said,

    July 23, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Aha! Makes perfect sense, what with the Japanese obsession with yoghurt bacteria, as started by Yakult (a company I always thought was Scandanavian from the name and connection with yoghurt until I came to Japan)

  5. Valetie said,

    December 8, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Yes, the truth is that the real yogurt is only one produced with Bulgarian standardised starter. Bulgarian yogurt contains all the bunch of healthy bacterias and what is very important in the right proportion, even if we take apart the fact that far from that particular geographic area in Europe bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus changes and simply transforms in a different type.
    So , the real Bulgarian jogurt has thousands of years approved history – that one on Tesco’s shelfs ..you can decide. Unfortunately in our commercial world, where everything is only money and advertising, nobody cares about the truth and in many caises that means our helth

  6. Kate said,

    June 24, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Yes, Bulgarian youghurt is one of a kind. Even the special bacteria is called Lactobacillus Bulgaricus. The youghurt in other countries is totally different from the Bulgarian. The taste of the Bulgarian is sourer and it is much healthier. Japanese know what to choose ;)

    • Lora said,

      March 29, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      yes!!! yummy! and super healthy!!

  7. Angel said,

    July 17, 2017 at 5:39 am

    I am Bulgarian living in Canada. Doing my own yogurt from Bulgarian starter, doesn’t last so long, using the old batch for new yogurt. When I’m doing it at home ,the bacterias doesn’t get tired. You can keep using the old bach again and again, and never is tired.

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