Italy has pizza, Japan has sushi but Saskatchewan has a different kind of famous delicacy — the rink burger.
Rink burgers are a staple for hockey players, figure skaters and curlers across the province. Every town and rink claims theirs is the best, so CBC's Blue Sky host Garth Materie decided to ask for recommendations on which arena has the best bites.
Todd Devonshire described hockey arenas as his second home growing up. He says having a rink burger basically every weekend throughout his youth hockey career had such an impact on his life that he even titled his memoir Rink Burgers.
"Everyone knows what a rink burger is in Saskatchewan," Devonshire said. "When we played the games, whether we won or lost it didn't matter, it was about getting that rink burger after the game."
LISTEN | The hunt for the best rink food in Saskatchewan:
Devonshire is looking forward to having some rink burgers at his local rink in Martensville, Sask., at Hockey Day in Saskatchewan on Jan. 21. This is the first time that Martensville hosts the event.
Devonshire's perfect rink burger has fried onions, melted cheese and a toasted bun. A popular side for him growing up was onion rings drowned in vinegar with a little bit of mustard.
Devonshire's top three all-time mouth-watering rink burgers are from recently closed Granite Curling Club in Saskatoon, Canwood and his childhood rink in Big River.
"The rink burger really became an attraction, especially here in small town Saskatchewan."
A local touch
Deb Ashby, the town of Bengough's recreation director, says their rink's burger was previously ranked top five in the province.
"Everybody tells us we have some of the best rink burgers in the area," Ashby said. "They always love to have our burger when they come to our rink."
Ashby says that getting their meat from local butchers, who get their beef from nearby ranchers, is what makes their burgers so tasty.
At some rinks around the province, delicacies have expanded past the classic rink burger and its usual sides.
Tim Philp runs the Bristles Cafe in Regina's Highland Curling rink. The cafe has menu items ranging from schnitzel to tacos, but nothing tops his cinnamon buns.
"We have people from the neighborhood just coming in to eat the food," Philp said.
"Everybody's welcome, you don't have to curl to eat here."
Lesley Kelly sees her fair share of rink food driving her kids to different arenas around the province. One of her favourite rink snacks is the popcorn chicken poutine at her hometown rink in Watrous, Sask.
She says one of the best parts about rink food is knowing the profits will support the local community.
"It's coming from volunteers and local farmers," Kelly said. "Supporting those businesses and the viability of the rink and the town is what makes it extra special."
Here are some other favourites that listeners shared with Blue Sky in comments and emails:
"I've had breakfast sandwiches in Moose Jaw, Kenston, Gravelbourg, Assiniboia, Yorkton, Dalmeny, and Humboldt so far this year. Moose Jaw and Assiniboia are definitely top two," Kyle said.
"Carrot River now has a great little cafe in the arena. It's called Soup Town Cafe," Crystal said.
"The burgers at the Drake rink because they get their meat from the processing facility in town," Nancy said.
"We've eaten a whole lot of Sask. rink burgers. My favourite … Milestone! Local farmer's beef," Denise said.
"The burgers at Prudhomme and Aberdeen rinks because the people serving them were so friendly," Joan said.
"The Midale rink has an amazing selection. Lots of different kinds of poutine, chicken burgers … like a restaurant," Meighan said.
"Best burger: Bulyea rink," Jennifer said.
"Strasbourg Rink has the best burgers — They are homemade from our local Hillside Foods! Amazing!" Michel said.