What is on the dinner menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner?
For 2009, I introduced deep-fried haggis wonton to Visit Scotland CEO Phillip Ridell. In return Phillip gave me one of only 250 bottles of 37 year old special edition Famous Grouse whisky that was auctioned off for charity. A fair trade dontcha' think? 2009 was Homecoming Year Scotland which started with Robbie Burns' 250th Anniversary Birthday, and ended with St. Andrew's Day (November 30). I was fortunate to be in Edinburgh for the Finale weekends, as my picture was featured in the This Is Who We Are: Scots in Canada exhibit at Scottish Parliament.
There are some changes for the dinner menu for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner. We try to vary the dinner items from year to year, add some new surprises, take out items we are bored with. This is a draft menu – subject to change.
See if you can spot the new additions – not repeated from last year.
1. Floata Appetizer Platter
a. Haggis Pork dumpling (Shiu Mai)
b. turnip cake (Lo-bak-goh)
c. Honey BBQ Pork
d. Jelly Fish
2. Deep fried haggis won ton
3. Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup
4. Diced Vegetable with Lettuce Wrap served with traditional Haggis
5. Pan Fried Prawns with Spicy Salt (shell on)
6. Budda Feast with Deep Fried Tofu
7. Gold Coin Beef – Beijing capital style
8. Deep Fried Crispy Chicken
9. Diced Vegetable Fried Rice
10. Dessert: Mango or Coconut Pudding
10-course traditional Chinese Dinner featuring:
Cold platter (Fusion of Chinese and Scottish Appetizers – Won Ton;
Haggis Siu Mai; and Jelly fish – Vegetarian spring rolls or BBQ pork).
Dim Sum means “pieces of the heart” or “pieces that touch the heart.” Absolutely delicious morsels of delicacy and succulence… and we stuff them with haggis! It's either very good or very “offal.” But people are always so hungry they eat it up without realizing they are having haggis. This year, after experimenting with haggis shrimp dumpling (har-gow) we are limiting the haggis stuffing to the pork dumplings.
“Neeps and tatties” are a tradition serving at Burns dinners, so we are adding pan-fried turnip cakes – a staple at dim sum lunches… just like my great-grandma used to make.
Honey BBQ Pork – what more can you say?
Now “jelly fish” – a strange Chinese delicacy… rubbery… weird… textury… the perfect
compliment to haggis. Photographers can try stuffing their haggis with
jelly fish, for a memorable portrait.
This year, the appetizer
platter will be served promptly at 6pm. So we encourage every body to
arrive between 5 and 5:45pm, so they can order their drinks from the
bar, and browse the silent auction items.
2) Deep-fried Haggis Won Ton (Shanghai style)
We are combining haggis and shrimp in this dish. When I created the
first deep-fried haggis won-ton in 2003, it was a gift to welcome CBC
radio host Shelagh Rogers and her Sounds Like Canada crew to Vancouver.
The gift was all about food and family connections, which included:
Pan-fried Turnip cake (Lo-Bak-Goh) that my great-grandmother used to
make for me, Apple tarts like those my father would bring home from
Chinatown, and for our future generations we created the now legendary
deep-fried haggis wonton.
3) Vegetarian Hot & Sour soup or maybe Winter Melon soup.
We have served Hot & Sour soup every year at the Floata, so we thought we would try something different. At the very first legendary
private Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner for 16 friends, I cooked up a
Winter Melon soup with lemon grass. It was wonderful! It's a good
hearty soup full of vegetables that I think Rabbie would enjoy. Very
appropriate for Chinese New Year. Shark
Fin soup is a traditional soup for wedding banquets, and was one of my favorite soups as a
youth, but due to its environmental impact of
Shark fishing – it is not an option. I now support the movement to ban
Shark Fin soup!
4) Haggis ( piped in with Scottish bagpipes) served with Chinese Lettuce wrap with diced vegetables
are moving up the Haggis offering this year. In past years, it was
menu item #6 or #7. The piping in of the haggis is always an important
ceremony at any Burns Dinner. But too much bagpiping can turn a lot
of heads in a Chinese restaurant. It is also very important to read
the Burns poem “Address to a Haggis”
prior to the serving of haggis. So please…. do NOT cut into your
haggis, until after we have finished reading the poem. Oh – by the
way… We don't usually do the usual traditional reading of the poem.
many ways can you serve haggis? Take a spoonful of haggis, spread some
Chinese plum sauce on it, add some crunchy noodles and diced vegetables
with water chestnuts, and wrap it up in a delicate piece of lettuce.
Magnificient! Imagine if Marco Polo should have brought back lettuce
wrap to Italy instead of noodles? Or if you are vegetarian – leave out
5) Pan-fried spicy salted prawns (Jew-Yim-Hah).
one of my favorite dishes and is served shell on. Past dinners have
found that while people liked the ginger crab, cracking the shell is
kind of challenging and messy. With the spicy salted prawns, you can
just chew through the shell for more taste and roughage. That's what I
6) Buddha feast
is an important traditional New Year dish – with long rice vermicelli
noodles and lots of
vegetables and lotus root. All the good things that every vegetarian
loves. Long noodles are important metaphor in Chinese cooking… The
longer the noodles, the longer the life you hope or expect to have. The Chinese calendar is based on the 12 animals that came when
Buddha called. The first animal to see Buddha was the Rat, I was born in the
Year of the Rat. The Tiger came third after the Ox.
7) Gold Coin Beef (Beijing Capital style)
an Olympic Year…. in Vancouver! So Gold Coin Beef is perfect word symetry. And the last Olympics were in Beijing, the capital of China. I've visited Beijing – it's a big city. I was on a bicycle. After pedaling to Beijing University, I felt I deserved a medal. I also ran the Terry Fox Run in Beijing… 10km! Terry Fox was definitely worthy of a Gold Medal
8) Crispy skinned chicken with shrimp chips
Another dish that was a childhood favorite. Healthier than KFC. And the shrimp chips were always my favorites as a child.
9) Vegetarian Young Chow Fried Rice or E-Fu noodles
is the dish you eat to fill yourself up, if you are still hungry. We
had E-Fu long life noodles in 2008, but a lot of the Scottish people
thought that these traditional delicate noodles were too plain. There
wasn't a strong sauce on them, and they weren't like chow mein
noodles… because they were E-Fu noodles! Maybe it's an acquired
taste (like haggis). For 2008, we went back to Young Chow Fried Rice.
It's still a very special and tasty dish, that everybody likes!
10) Mango or Coconut pudding
has been our most popular dessert of the years. Chinese pastries are
okay… but mango pudding is better, but we might try coconut pudding this year… more subtle.. It's always a tradition to have
something sweet after the meal. We thought about having Scottish blood
pudding… but there is a reason why we have the Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinner in a Chinese restaurant instead of a Scottish restaurant. I
like Chinese food better, and that includes the puddings! Julie wants
tapioca pudding. I tried the black sesame pudding but it was very strong – Definitely mango or coconut pudding is better.