2007 Menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy™:
Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
– Anticipating the Year of the Pig
What: Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ Dinner
When: January 28, 2007 – Sunday
Time: Reception 5:30 pm – with Dim Sum appetizers
Dinner 6:30 pm
Tickets: Call Firehall Arts Centre 604-689-0926
$80 (+ $5 ticket charge) premium seating with wine
$70 (+ $5 ticket charge) regular seating
Our selections are not a real “traditional” Chinese New Year dinner menu – but a blending of favorites, and brand new fusion-fare. It is created to help introduce “real Chinese banquet fare” to Scottish-Canadians and to help make “haggis” safe for Chinese-Canadians. And if you are Ukranian-Italian-Japanese-First Nations… that's alright too!
Here is the menu for 2007, subject to change at my whimsy and the kitchen's demands:
Haggis Dim Sum Appetizer buffet
This will be available upon people's arrival soon after the reception starts after 5:30pm
We have also told the restaurant to have TWO bars open for 5:30pm
1 – Deep fried Haggis Won Ton
Haggis Wun Tun was first created in September 2003 when I walked into New Town Restaurant in Chinatown with a Haggis from Peter Black's and asked them to make won tons for me to take to the CBC Radio reception to welcome Shelagh Rogers and “Sounds Like Canada” to Vancouver. It's been a favorite ever since. We ask the restaurant to mix the haggis with water chestnuts to make it crunchy – yum yum!
2- BRAND NEW – Haggis Haw-Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) and Haggis Su-Mei (Pork Dumplings)
Both of these new items to haggis cuisine were greeted with approval. Shrimp dumplings (Haw-Gow) and Pork Dumplings (Su-Mei) are classic cantonese dim sum.
3 – NON-Haggis Dim Sum – Vegetarian Spring Rolls + Haw-Gow (Shrimp Dumplings)
Because we knew there would be people who wouldn't want Haggis in the Shrimp Dumplins or their Vegetarian spring rolls.
4 – Hot & Sour Soup
Always a favorite for everybody – and vegetarian to boot! Warms up the innards on a cold January night. I am sure Burns would approve.
5 – Ginger Dungeness Crab
The West Coast equivalent to Nova Scotia Lobster and better tasting too! Flavoured with Ginger, it's always been one of my favorites. The best way to eat crab is to have somebody else crack it and de-shell it for you. If your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend won't do this – invite somebody else.
6 – Sticky Rice Taro
I can hear the voices already saying… “What?” As a kid attending family dinners, my favorite dish was always my mother's special sticky rice dish “noh-my-fan.” This dish was recently served at my grandmother's 95th birthday dinner and I LOVED it. Why the taro? Why the haggis? It's icky and slimy and better than tofu… well maybe it's worse. But the Hawaiians love it. And Hawaiian culture is Soooo multi-cultural! Taro is the main ingredient of poi – their traditional starchy staple dish. But the best way to have Taro is as “taro chips” – just like potato chips – but starchier.
7 a) – Haggis
You can't have a Robbie Burns Supper without Haggis… We serve the best haggis that I have found. It comes from the Highlands of West Vancouver… or rather the Lowlands of West Vancouver's Park Royal, from Peter Black & Sons. Over the years, I have always tried to entice Peter to come attend Gung Haggis Fat Choy. One year, I even brought them deep-fried Haggis won-ton. Finally, Peter came last year, bringing his family. And guess what? His youngest son has a Chinese girlfriend!
Peter's haggis is like a nice liver pate. It is not too oaty, and it has many nice spices. Try it with sweet & sour sauce. But the Plum sauce is best.
7 b) Lettuce Wrap
We serve a vegetarian lettuce wrap. We had so many vegetarians who lamented that they couldn't eat the duck or the pork or the beef lettuce wrap… so now it is a vegetarian lettuce wrap. Very tasty.
We encourage people to combine Haggis with the lettuce wrap…. Take a large spoonful of haggis, plunk it on a lettuce leaf, add the vegetarian filling, smother it with Hoi-Sin Chinese plum sauce, and it's great. People really like it. Before we invented the haggis lettuce wrap, there was always plenty of haggis left over. But now… everybody eats it up. We blame it on the lettuce wrap.
8 – Buddha's Feast Mixed Vegetables
So called because it is a favorite vegetarian dish for Buddist Monks. It is also a traditional New Year's fare to bring enlightenment for the coming months. The long fun-see rice vermicelli noodles are like “angel hair” pasta. Did you know that it was Buddha who first summoned the animals to come see him, and that he would name the years of the Chinese Zodiac after them? The Rat arrived first. I was born in the year of the Rat.
9 – Deep Fried Shrimp balls with fruit salad.
This is a Floata Restaurant specialty. The shrimpballs are lightly deep-fried to a nice light crunch. The salad is melons with a mayonaise sauce… very much Hong Kong style. While, not one of the Chinese-Canadian dishes that I grew up with, but the Chinese members on our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team really like it, and they assure me that it is a traditional style food dish for Chinese New Year.
10 – Dessert
This will be a mix of traditional Chinese New Year pastries We do recognize that not everybody like to have red bean pudding after a banquet dinner. We will definitely NOT have blood pudding – Go ye to a Scottish resturant for that stuff
Hope you enjoyed these delicious descriptions…
Each year we are challenged by the logistics of serving 400 to 500 people at the same time, in coordination with a fantastic musical and literary show. Every year we try to improve on the presentation and the execution of our event, while making it fresh with adjustments to both the menu and the performance schedule.
So…. reception starts promptly at 5:30pm.and the dim sum appetizers will be available because we know people will be hungry. TWO bars will be open, and wine will be available for the Premium tables, so you won't have to wait in line at the bar.
After meeting numberous challenges at the 2005 dinner, we have resolved many problems.
1- Tickets purchased prior to January 20 have been mailed out, along with seating plans – to avoid queue lineups at the door. Tickets purchased after January 21st are held at the door. There will be 3 lineups: A-L, M-Z, and VIP, sponsors & Performers
2 – Patrons are assigned table numbers and tickets will have the buyer's name + table number on it
If your table number is odd, you go through one door, if your table number is even, you go through the other door. We will have ushers to guide you.
The 2006 show will focus more on the performances and the food will be enjoyed when it shows up. We will try to serve the food in a timely manner, that hopefully will not disrupt the major performances.
This is dinner theatre… it is interactive with singalongs and we wish people to have fun.
And of course… the entire program and menu is subject to change. We do our best to create a fabulous meal and evening of entertainment. And the best way is to be sensitive to the audience, the performers, and meeting any challenges that come our way.
I have brought together exciting new performers for 2007, as well as some favorites from years past. We are very happy to see the return of Silk Road Music and opera soprano Heather Pawsey… and they will be leading a collaboration together! New for this year is Leora Cashe and No Luck Club. Leora sings wonderful jazz gospel, and we plan to include her in a singalong too! No Luck Club will provide our reception music, and producer Trevor Chan has been working with Joseph McDonald & myself on refining our new and improved version of “Address to the Haggis” that we call “Gung HAGGIS RAP Choy.”
On the literary edge, Lensey Namioka is our featured author, reading from her young adult novel Half and Half, about a family that is… half Scottish and half Chinese! Margaret Gallagher returns not as a host or singer – but as a poet and author. Margaret has contributed to a new anthology titled All Mixed Up which highlights Hapa (Half Asian culture). We have a sneak preview of a brand new play written by Charlie Cho and Grace Chin. It's fun and appropriate, and know you will like “Twisting Fortunes.” And Robbie Burns… is represented by Dr. Ian Mason, president of the Burns Club.
I look forward to sharing the surprises and joys of Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ 2007 with you!
Ó 2007 Todd Wong