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$5 Feasts – Healthy Tarator and Shopska Salad with love from Bulgaria


This month for my guest blogger $5 feasts, I have not just one but TWO amazing recipes for you. My mouth is literally watering as I get this post ready, so as soon as I am done I am heading to the local market and grabbing the ingredients to whip these up. Hopefully I can find some imported Bulgarian Yogurt as it is apparently the bee’s knees in the yogurt world… if not I may have to start planning a trip to Bulgaria!

Introducing Sianna with a Healthy Tarator and Shopska Salad

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Realist. Travel obsessed. Sarcastic. Introvert. Fashion student. Art and design lover. A good food enthusiast. Procrastinator. Creative. Tolerant. Chocoholic. Movies & books addict. Dreaming to take a gap year from life. My heart is somewhere in Italy. Loves big cities, meeting people from around the world and exploring new places. Tourist on a budget. Full-time daydreamer. Just give me some rum and put me on an island.

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Bulgarian yogurt is popular in many countries including Korea. Imagine my surprise when a lot of the Koreans I’ve met in the last couple of months would exclaim “Oh, Bulgaria! You have great yogurt!” when I tell them where I come from. We even have a yogurt festival in my hometown in the north of Bulgaria. What makes the Bulgarian yogurt special is the unique bacteria called Lactobacillus bulgaricus that was found by a Bulgarian doctor at the beginning of 20th century.

So apart from the yogurt, almost all of the dairy products in Bulgaria are especially delicious! The following two dishes owe their popularity to yogurt and cheese and are universal favourites to both Bulgarians and foreigners.

You can find these two dishes in every traditional (and not only) restaurant in Bulgaria for under $5. Depending on the place, you can even get both of them for a little over $5 especially if you are somewhere in the countryside.

They are refreshing, healthy, easy to make or order and an absolute must to try if you are visiting Bulgaria! Did I mention that they are also really tasty?

As I said apart from ordering them in a restaurant you can make them yourself and you don’t need any special equipment. You basically have to chop the vegetables. Buying the ingredients from local market or even the supermarket will cost you around $5 for 2 dishes for 2-3 people.

Healthy Bulgarian Tarator

Tarator is a cold yogurt soup that is very popular in the summer because it is refreshing and the perfect thing to fight the summer heat with. Considering that half of it is water and cucumbers, it is great for hydrating yourself while you’re running around and exploring our beautiful country. Seriously, you can even find it in bottles in the supermarkets!

Below I’ve listed the necessary ingredients, which can vary. For example, you can skip the walnuts if you don’t like them, though this is the traditional recipe and the walnuts are actually really healthy for your body and brain. It is better to be made with fresh dill and garlic, but if you can find it you can add the dried ones.

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 jar of Bulgarian yogurt (it has to be a bit sour)
  • same amount of cold water
  • dill
  • fresh garlic
  • walnuts
  • olive oil
  • salt
Healthy Bulgarian Shopska Salad

This salad has different variations around the Balkans but I believe that the Bulgarian cheese is making it the best! Mix all the vegetables and spices and grate the cheese on top. It goes great with meat and fish and is the most popular salad you can try in Bulgaria.

  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 250gr. Bulgarian cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 2 peppers
  • a few olives
  • 1 spoon olive oil
  • salt
  • a bit of black pepper
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In conclusion, I would say that these are some of my personal favourites when it comes to Bulgarian cuisine and probably the healthiest when it comes to traditional dishes on the Balkans where meat is the King. If you can get your hand on Bulgarian cheese (salty) and yogurt (sour), you can easily try to make these two dishes even at your home.

Do you have a great travel meal for under $5 to share? Email me at thelitebackpacker@gmail.com

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