401 Wellington Street West At the former home of McGregor Socks, Arlene Chan tells the story of the Chinese community’s connection with Toronto’s …
Are Vancouver restaurants trendsetters?
We went to Peaceful Restaurant on Broadway following dragon boat practice.
We always look for good cheap eats following a dragon boat practice, and over the years we have developed some favorite restaurants. We had been to Sha-Lin
noodle house off and on over the years, and really enjoyed their hand made noodles. But one evening, when it was too crowded, we
discovered Peaceful, and fell in love with both the food and the people – Especially Amelia!
This Sunday, we ordered Mu-Chuy vegetables with hand-made noodles, as well as our perennial favorite potato rolls. We then added some more noodles with spicy cucumbers. Xiaolongbao are also some of our favorites – they are bun dumplings with meat and soup inside. How they get the soup inside is a mystery!!!
Shigematsu (far left) and Todd Wong (right) granted the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy Intercultural Awards of Awesomeness to Vancouver Opera's James
Wright, poet Fred Wah, and Ricepaper founder Jim Wong-Chu.
“Politicians of all stripes must have had other business in this
postelection malaise, as the 15th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie
Burns Chinese New Year dinner went off without them.
The only person to note this was Scottish-born-and-raised local political veteran Margaret Birrell, who told the Straight that Scotland is likely to vote for independence from the U.K. in 2014.
Other than Birrell, nobody seemed to mind too much, as there was music, poetry, whisky, haggis, banter, and fun a-plenty.
Tetsuro Shigematso and Gung Haggis creator Todd “Toddish McWong” Wong
made sure the night was seamless at the Floata Restaurant in Chinatown,
which culminated in a cross-cultural Mandarin-English version of “Auld
Lang Syne” (“Youyi dichang-tianju”), traditionally used to sing in the
New Year in Scotland and elsewhere.”
read more at:
What to expect at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2012 Dinner…
picture by Patrick Tam from the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner
Special for 2012
Every year, we invite new people to perform and co-host. For 2012, there is Chinese New Year theme emerging… because midnight will be the start of Chinese New Year's Day, Year of the Dragon!!!
Tetsuro Shigematsu – Co-hosting duties are the responsibility of the inscrutable and irreverent samurai expert from the tv show “Deadliest Warrior” – better known as a comedian, writer and film maker. Tetsuro
himself is very intercultural, very Gung Haggis. While he is technically of
Japanese ancestry, he was born in London England, and raised in Quebec. I first got to know Tetsuro back in
the early 2000's when he was a member of the sketch comedy group, The
Hot Sauce Posse. Soon after he was the new radio host for CBC Radio's
“The Round Up” replacing Bill Richardson.
Fred Wah is the just announced Parliamentary Poet Laureate. He is winner of both the Governor's General Prize for Poetry (Diamond Grill) and BC Book Prize (Is A Door). Fred is a true Gung Haggis-Canadian with both Scottish and Chinese ancestry, all dominated by his Swedish mother.
Dr. Jan Walls is beloved in both Chinese and Academic and other circles. He is a scholar of Chinese language, as well as a former cultural attache for the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. We love him because he performs the ancient tradition of Chinese clapper tales. We are daring Dr. Walls to set the poetry of Robert Burns to the rapping beat of Chinese bamboo clappers.
performers include Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums, and the Black Bear Rebels celtic ceilidh ensemble…
More on them in later posts…
What are you wearing? Kilts and tartans, as well as Chinese jackets and cheong-sam dresses are preferred. But our guests are dressed both formal and casual – be comfortable, be outrageous, be yourself. If you want to wear a Chinese jacket or top, paired with a kilt or mini-kilt… that is great!
We might have a kilt fashion show for 2012… we might have a Chinese cheong-sam fashion show… we will see what happens. One year, one guest dressed up like a Chinese mandarin scholar. Another year, two guests dressed up as cowboys.
The doors will open at 5:00 pm, All tables are reserved, and all seating is placed in the
order that they were ordered.
you bought your tickets through Firehall Arts Centre, come to the
reception marked Will Call under the corresponding alphabet letters. We
have placed you at tables in order of your purchase. Somebody who
bought their ticket in December will be at a table closer to the stage
then somebody who bought it in mid January, or on the day before the event. We think this
is fair. If you want to sit close for next year – please buy your ticket
you are at a table with one of the sponsoring organizations: Historic
Joy Kogawa House, ACWW/Ricepaper Magazine, Gung Haggis dragon boat team -
then somebody will meet you at the reception area and guide you to your
The Bar is open at 5:00 and Dinner Start time is 6:00
expect a rush before the posted 6:00pm
time. We have asked that the 1st appetizer platter be placed on the
table soon after 6pm. Once this is done, we will start the Piping in of
our performers and head table. We sing “O Canada” from the stage, and
give welcome to our guests. “Calling of the Clans” is done for sponors, and reserved table clans – if you would like to have your clan or group announced, please reserve a table of 10.
Buy Your Raffle Tickets:
raffle tickets… this is how we generate our fundraising to support
this organizations dedicated to multiculturalism and cultural harmony.
Food prices have been rising, but we have
purposely keep our admission costs low so that they are
affordable and the dinner can be attended by more
people. Children's tickets are subsidized so that we can include
them in the audience and be an inclusive family for the evening. We have some great door
and raffle prizes lined up. Lots of books (being the writers we
are), gift certificates and theatre tickets + other surprises.
FREE Subscription for Ricepaper Magazine:
Everybody is eligible for a subscription to RicePaper Magazine,
(except children). This is our thank you gift to you for attending our
dinner. And to add value ($20) to your ticket. Pretty good deal, eh? Ricepaper Magazine
is Canada's best journal about Asian Canadian arts and
culture, published by Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop,
This dinner is the primary fundraising event for:
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team
continues to promote multiculturalism through
dragon boat paddling events. Some paddlers wear kilts, and we have been
filmed for German, French, and Canadian television documentaries + other
Since 2001, Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop,
has been a partner in this remarkable dinner event. ACWW works actively
to give a voice to ermerging writers. ACWW is the publisher of Ricepaper Magazine.
Historic Joy Kogawa House committee joined our family of recipients in 2006, during the campaign to save Joy Kogawa's childhood home from demolition. The Land
Conservancy of BC stepped in to fundraise in 2005 and purchase Kogawa House
in 2006 and turn it into a National literary landmark and treasure for all
Canadians. In 2009, we celebrated our inaugural Writer-in-Residence program.
This year haggis dim sum appetizers will
be served. Haggis is mixed into the Pork Su-mei dumplings which we introduced a few years. This year we are adding vegetarian pan-fried turnip cake to represent “Neeps and Tatties.” Our signature dish is our deep-fried haggis won-tons served with a special sauce.
after 6:00 pm the dinner formalities begin. People
are seated, and the Piping in of the musicians and
hosts begins. We will lead a singalong of Scotland the Brave and give
a good welcome to our guests, and have the calling of the clans – all
the reserved tables and large parties of 10. This is a tradition at
many Scottish ceilidhs (kay-lees), or gatherings.
From then on… a new dish will appear somewhere around 15 minutes -
quickly followed by one of our co-hosts introducing a poet or musical
performer. Serving 40 tables within 5 minutes, might not work
completely, so please be patient. We will encourage our guests
and especially the waiters to be quiet while the performers are on stage.
Then for the 5 minute intermissions, everybody can talk and make noise
before they have to be quiet for the performers again.
Check this video from past year's Dinner
Expect the unexpected: This year's dinner event is full of surprises. Even I don't know what is going to happen. The idea is to recreate the spontaneity of the very
first dinner for 16 people back in 1998 – but with 400+ guests. For
that very first dinner, each guest was asked to bring a song or a poem to share. I
don't want to give anything away right now as I
prefer the evening to unfold with a sense of surprise and
wonderment. But let it be known that we have an incredible
array of talent for the evening.
by Robbie Burns and Chinese Canadian poets. What will it be? We often
like to read “Recipe for Tea” – a poem by Jim Wong-Chu, about the
trading of tea from Southern China to Scotland
Our non-traditional reading of the “Address to the
Haggis” is always a crowd pleaser. But
this year, audience members might also be reading a different Burns poem to
tie their tongues around the gaelic tinged words. Will it be “A
Man's A Man for All That,” “To a Mouse,” My Luv is Like a Red Red Rose,” or maybe even “Tam O-Shanter?”
The evening will wrap up somewhere
between 9:00 and
9:30 pm, with the singing of Auld Lang Syne – we start with a verse in Mandarin
Chinese, then sing in English or Scottish. Then we will socialize further until 10pm. People will
leave with smiles on their faces and say to
each other, “Very Canadian,” “Only in Vancouver could something
like this happen,” or “I'm telling my friends.”
Tickets now on sale
through Firehall Arts Centre
for concert & dinner event
Nov 6th, 3pm concert 6pm dinner
Ukranian Hall, 805 East Pender St.
Heart of the City Festival
First Nations, Chinese, Hawaiian, Ukranian, and British ethnicities and cultures mix together at Heart of the City Festival. David Nahanee's First Nations family gave the opening welcome and drumming to open the festival. Savannah Walling and Terry Hunter (back row) are the festival's founders and artistic directors. Todd Wong (right) was guest accordionist.
William Nahanee explained to me that his family name is of Hawaiian origin, as Hawaiians had come to BC with traders, and settled into the Squamish Nation. It is now a common name, he explained to me when I told him I had a friend named Nahanee in grade 8.
I played solo accordion in the second half of the program. I started out with the Chinese folk song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower), then a version of Scotland the Brave. Terry Hunter had give me an introduction to the audience mentioning how I am the creator of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, so I explained that I wanted to acknowledge that Chinese and Scottish pioneers were the founding pioneer cultures of British Columbia – not English and French as in Eastern Canada. I explained that my great great grandfather had come to Canada and ministered at the Chinese United Church, just up Pender St. It has been a pleasure to participate in the Heart of the City Festival, and I wanted to acknowledge the immigrant groups that have settled in Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside. The next songs I played were J.S. Bach's Toccata in D Minor and the St. Louis Blues, to acknowledge German and American pioneers to Vancouver, and especially Jelly Roll Morton who had lived at the Patricia Hotel over on Hastings St.
The Ukranian Folk Orchestra played a number of songs for the concert. Conducted by David Ho, who is Chinese, most of the members are of Ukranian ancestry, and all share an appreciation for Ukranian folk music. Instruments included flute, violin, lute, mandolin, guitar, drum & percussion. Sadly, they no longer have an accordion player, which prompted one of the band members asked me to join them.
Bortsch soup, made from beets – a Ukranian staple, that I first had many many years ago made by a high school friend.
No Ukranian dinner would be complete without perogies. One of my favorite foods I like to keep stored in the freezer, and smother them with cream cheese.
wineries… 13 restaurants… 3 hours… one location…
Todd Wong sampling 09 Black Dog cask wine, from Township 7 Vineyards and Winery. Definitely something to reserve ahead of time, before it is bottled and put to market – photo D. Martin
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Seattle V was amazing!
Feb 20th @ China Harbour Restaurant
The Seattle version of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner has an edgy feel, which pushes the boundaries of both traditional Robbie Burns and Chinese New Year dinners. Scotland's favorite son Robbie Burns is compared to China's most famous poet Lao Tzu.
Children of all ages enjoy this multicultural, intercultural event, which has featured the Washington Chinese Youth Ensemble in past years, and was a fundraiser this year for the North West Junior Pipe Band.
A young drummer keeps up with the older drummers around him. This cultural fusion event opened with the North West Junior Pipe Band.
Pipe Major gives signals to the band, and demonstrates good poise. The band is a mix of male and female, older and younger, and often comes up to Vancouver area, to compete at the BC Highland Games in Coquitlam.
Bell Town Martial Arts is led by Sifu David Leung, who once studied with Bruce Lee.
Jamie Foster sings the Burns song, “Ae Fond Kiss”, then helped lead a singalong of Loch Lomand, with musicians Todd Wong on accordion, Red McWilliams on guitar and Susan Burke on fiddle.
Todd Wong and Red McWilliams, hosting and singing + comic relief. We led an interesting diversion of kilt tartan identification.
Lauren Black, premier Highland Dancer, from Toronto. What was she doing in Seattle? She specifically came out to perform at the Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner because her mother is 2nd generation Chinese-Canadian, and her Scottish-Canadian father plays bagpipes, and it was a good excuse to come visit relatives. Last year she found out some of her friends, who live in Seattle had danced, and she decided she wanted to, too!
Rock & Roll bagpipes from Don Scobie's band “Nae Regrets”
Seattle Met magazine features a story
about Toddish McWong
and Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner in Seattle!
Check out this story in the Seattle Met magazine, about Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner history, Toddish McWong origins and the upcoming Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner in Seattle.
A Vancouverite brings his Chinese and Scottish mash-up to Rain City. WHAT DO ROBERT BURNS, Wong took a shine to the poetry recitations—including Burns’s He hosted the first public Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Vancouver,
Adventures in Multiculturalism
haggis, lion dancers, and the Chinese New Year have in common? That
would be Toddish McWong, aka Todd Wong, a fifth-generation Chinese
Canadian. Wong created Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a Scottish and Chinese
cross-cultural holiday that has spread from Canada to China and
Scotland, and earned him an introduction to the Scottish First Minister.
In 1993, as a student at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia,
Wong was asked to slip on a kilt and help out with a campus Robert Burns
supper, a nod to the eighteenth-century Scottish poet.
“Address to a Haggis”—but not to the music (bagpipes) or the food
(haggis: sheep innards minced with oatmeal and simmered in the animal’s
stomach). He donned the tartan, but complemented his costume with
elements of the Lunar Chinese New Year—he covered his face with a lion
mask and carried Chinese food instead of haggis. “I thought, This is a
really interesting way to look at multiculturalism—to flip stereotypes.
So I called myself Toddish McWong.”
BC, in 1999, celebrating Scottish and Chinese cultures. And people from
all over the region have flocked to it, including Bill McFadden of
Seattle’s Caledonian and St. Andrew’s Society (he’s Clan MacLaren).
McFadden convinced Wong to bring the event to Western Washington in
2007. Since then hundreds of Seattleites have showed up to devour
deep-fried haggis wontons, sing along to “My Haggis-Chow Mein Lies Over
the Ocean,” and hear McWong perform his “Address to a Haggis” rap,
surely the way the Scottish bard intended.
A Vancouverite brings his Chinese and Scottish mash-up to Rain City.
WHAT DO ROBERT BURNS,
Wong took a shine to the poetry recitations—including Burns’s
He hosted the first public Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Vancouver,
I had the Silk Road Feast at East Is East Restaurant on Main Street.
I was walking down Main St. looking for a “Main Streetish” place to eat lunch. It was my last day for working part-time at the Riley Park Branch Library @ Main & 23rd Ave. On Wednesday, I had eaten at Splitz Grill for the $5 burger specias, which is delicious! And great value, with your choice of sauces and basic add ons.
But on Friday Feb 11th, I was looking for something different. I walked past the Hawker's Delight, where I had previously eaten. The Italian Deli, that I liked for pasta was closed. I walked past Saltspring Island coffee. I stood across the street from the Honolulu Cafe, and a Thai Restaurant. But soon, I found myself outside the East is East Chai Gallery Restaurant where a woman offered food samples from a plate.
These are the roti pancakes that are offered as appetizers… The host was friendly, and I knew I had found the right place for lunch. She explained to me that the owners were Afghans who had lived in India, and that their food was a blending of the two cultures. They are also involved in the Main St. Community, and host evenings of music and other events.
Here was the first course of the Silk Road Feast: Wild Salmon, Lamb with the basics of rice and the spice dishes… My next order included the butternut squash, deep-fried tofu, chicken masala, whipped spinich and Indian cheese.
Chicken Masala, eggplant, butternut squash are on the main plate – beside is the whipped spinich with Indian cheese, and more roti roll.
Here is the menu selection for the Silk Road Feast- a sampling of many flavours – for only $16.
We celebrated the 14th Annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner on January 30th, 2011.Our 2011 theme featured so many performers of Asian-Celtic-Gaelic heritage that we could have called it
Gung HAPA Fat Choy!
Co-hosts were actor Patrick Gallagher (Glee, Men of a Certain Age, Night at the Museum), Jenna Choy (CBC Radio), writer/comedian Tetsuro Shigematsu, and creator of the event Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong”Featured performers were: Jocelyn Pettit and her band – Siew & Joel Pettit + Bob Collins
Joe McDonald on pipes, accordion, Address to the Haggis, and Highland Fling.
Jay MacDonald, performing Loch Lomand and “Ring of Burns”
Jaime Foster singing Ae Fond Kiss
Vancouver Poet Laureate: Brad Cran
Dr. Leith Davis: Immortal Memory
Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums: led by Pipe Major Bob Wilkins with: Allan McMordie, Trish McMoride, Brenda McNair, Don Scobie, Danny Graham, drummers were: Casandra Lihn, Bill Burr and Tracey Morris
All photos below from our official photographer Lydia Nagai.
Creator and co-host Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, try out the haggis won ton with chop sticks. – photo Lydia Nagai
Fiddler Jocelyn Pettit with her French-Celtic-Canadian father and the Chinese-Canadian mother – the Jocelyn Pettit Band! – photo Lydia Nagai
CNN reporter Percy Von Lipinski and his cameraman film Jocelyn Pettit as she performs! – photo Lydia Nagai
Actor Patrick Gallagher was our co-host, while our Bearded Scottish Lady roamed, and all posed for a picture with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and host and Gung Haggis creator Todd Wong – photo Lydia Nagai
Co-hosts 3 = 2 1/2 Asians…. Todd Wong, writer/comedian Tetsuro Shigematsu and Jenna Chow (CBC Radio). – photo Lydia Nagai
Todd Wong and Jenna Chow read the poem “Recipe For Tea”, written by Jim Wong-Chu, which describes how tea first traveled from China to the UK, via Scottish traders. – photo Lydia Nagai
Floata manager Antonio Hung carries the haggis during the Piping of the Haggis – photo Lydia Nagai
Dr. Leith Davis, director of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University, cuts the haggis, as she read the 3rd verse of Robert Burns immortal poem “Address To A Haggis” as CNN reporter Percy Von Lipinski, films Leith close up. – photo Lydia Nagai
Film maker Jeff Chiba Stearns explains the meaning of “Hapa” as a word to describe people of Mixed ancestry with Asian heritage. His film “One Big Hapa Family” was featured at the 2011 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner. Co-host Patrick Gallagher, of Irish and Chinese Ancestry, looks on. – photo Lydia Nagai
The Head Table with MLA Shane Simpson, co-host Jenna Chow and friend Mattias, Meeka, Bahareh (partner of co-host Tetsuro Shigematsu), co-host and founder Todd Wong, Jeff Chiba Stearns and partner Jen Kato. – photo Lydia Nagai
Musician Joe McDonald, sans bagpipes, flute or accordion – dances a jig, with bagpiper Don Scobie. – photo Lydia Nagai
Dr. Leith Davis, gives the Immortal Memory – talking about the “Life of Robbie Burns” and the connections of Todd Wong – photo Lydia Nagai
Trish & Allan McMordie, with guitarists Jay MacDonald and Bob Collins, join in the singing of “I Went to a Robbie Burns Dinner” – Burns lyrics set to the tune of Johnny Cash’s famous song – “Ring of Fire” – photo Lydia Nagai
During the singing of Auld Lang Syne, people joined hands to sing…. as the Chinese Dragon weaved through the crowd. – photo Lydia Nagai
Members of the audience joined performers on stage to sing Auld Lang Syne for the closing song.
(l-r Siew Pettit, Jocelyn Pettit, Todd Wong, Trish McMordie, Allan McMordie + 3 members of the audience) – photo Lydia Nagai
After the singing was over, a posed picture of kilts and legs, was taken!
(l-r: bearded Scots Lady, Bruce Clark, Todd Wong, Adam Todd, Don Harder and Allan McMordie – photo Lydia Nagai