Guess the world’s best city for vegan-friendly dining! No, try again

Vegan options are on the upswing.
Vegan options are on the upswing.
Image: AP Photo/John Raoux
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Picture this: You and I are strangers, waiting in line together at the farmers’ market. You’ve got radishes; I’ve got squash. I think you’re cute. But I’m not sure how to get a conversation going. So I tap you on the shoulder and try out my new pickup line.

“Guess the city with the highest percentage of vegan-friendly restaurants,” I say, waggling my eyebrows to show you that I am a woman of mystery, with many surprising facts up my sleeve.

You’re intrigued, because you like guessing games and also eating vegan food sometimes, which I intuited from the radishes and from your t-shirt, which has a happy chicken on it. You tap your chin thoughtfully. “Tokyo could make sense,” you say. “Lots of rice, lots of vegetables. But no, Japanese cuisine has too much fish. Is this per capita?”

“It’s based on the proportion of restaurants classified as vegan-friendly on TripAdvisor, according to an analysis of the world’s 50 most-visited cities by the British travel agency Hayes & Jarvis,” I say, seductively.

You nod, taking this in. “Los Angeles has a lot of health nuts,” you say. “But it also has so many restaurants, so the share that are vegan-friendly might be lower overall.”

“So many,” I agree. You’re next in line at the vegetable stand. Our time is running out, but that only makes your slow, methodical reasoning more exciting.

You close your eyes, oblivious to the pressure—or perhaps bold and unflinching in the face of it. “It’s got to be a place with a substantial international population,” you say. “It’s hip. It’s young. It reflects the mainstreaming of the vegan movement. It’s… Berlin?”

I smile coyly. You were right about so many things: The city in question has a population that’s 20% foreign-born; it’s student-friendly; its chic vegan options have been written up in Vogue. But you guessed wrong. “Dublin,” I say. “Dublin is number one. Nobody saw it coming. Even the Irish Times was surprised.”

In a sudden swoop, the radishes fall from your hands as you sweep me into your arms, startling assorted passersby. “That’s insane,” you say.

I gaze deep into your eyes, the warm brown color of a Tofurkey that’s been baked in the oven for too long. “Wait till I tell you about Orlando.”