Category Archives: 2012 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner

Vancouver Opera reviews Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event – turnabout not a Turandot!

Opera blog – gives a review of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner
 – and shared
multicultural respect… This is great – usually I am the one to write
reviews of the opera on MY blog at
This definitely a turnabout but not a Turandot! – even though the Black Bear Rebels ceilidh group did play the Chinese folk song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower) which is the melody that Giacommo Pucinni pinched to use as the Princess Turandot them in his famous opera Turandot (hint: think Nessun Dorma)

Georgia Straight: Gung Haggis Fat Choy at Floata rings in the Year of the Water Dragon

the inaugural 
“Gung Haggis Fat Choy Intercultural Achievement Awards of
Congratulations to Vancouver Opera's James Wright,
Parliamentary poet laureate Fred Wah, and cultural organizer and poet
Jim Wong-Chu. These are people that inspire what we love in the BC Arts,
and what we create at Gung Haggis Fat Choy… and our intercultural
projects through the year.  Great that the Georgia Straight scooped this dinner highlight from our event last night.

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.

photo Charlie Smith

Georgia Straight: Gung Haggis Fat Choy at Floata rings in the Year of the Water Dragon

“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:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Vancouver Observer

Chinese New Year and the Robbie Burns Day: Gung Haggis dinner brings cultures together

by Benjamin Yong

next »
Photos by Benjamin Yong
give substance — we don’t just pay lip service to multiculturalism,”
said [Todd] Wong, a fifth-generation Chinese Canadian. “You see the
musicians, the performers and the food, and everything flows so

The idea was born when Wong was still a student at
Simon Fraser University in the early 1990s and, as part of his duties as
a campus guide, was asked to carry the claymore (sword) in the Robbie
Burns (Scottish poet and writer) Day celebration. Since then, he has
championed all things Scottish and even joined a Celtic band called the
Black Bear Rebels who performed that evening.

Thank yous for and from Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Thank you everybody for performing / attending / volunteering at Gung Haggis Fat Choy

It was a really fun night… one of the most least stressed events…

And immediately after Carl Schmidt – who has been sound tech since 2005 – his 8th year in a row… said:
“This was the best one yet”

Great chemistry with co-host Tetsuro
wonderful readings by Fred, Larry and Jim (even though Jim didn't know we were going to be reading his poem!!!)
but hey – it's the 15th anniversary dinner. 

The introductions were less rushed… and very good.
It was great to segue from O Canada, to a parliamentary poet….
from counting down Chinese New year in a different time zone – to celebratory music.
stories about food in Chinatown, while ate food in Chinatown…
and so much more!

And the production would never have happened without volunteer and supporters….
Thank you for decorating the room
setting up the tables
hosting the reception tables,
seeing people to their tables
registering subscriptions
selling raffle tix
bringing up the prizes
carrying the dragon!

Everything seemed to flow well…
I saw people selling tix, carrying the signs
soooo… everything worked.

So many people came up to me, to say 3 things:
1) they loved/liked the event
2) they liked the information we gave out
4) they liked being par of a multicultural community

Thank you again for supporting this event
Believing in what we do
and investing your time and energy.

Much appreciation, cheers, Todd

Tickets sales now closed for Gung Haggis Fat Choy

The Firehall Box Office is now closed for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner event.

Thank you for purchasing your tickets in advance.

If you would still like to attend the dinner – You will have to contact event producer Todd Wong for a wait list, and purchase tix directly from him prior to the event – if there is room.   Contact Todd Wong at 778-846-7090

Our Box Office closes at 2pm Saturday, to help us facilitate seating arrangements for the event.  Priority seating is given in order of ticket purchase.  The earlier you purchased your ticket, the closer to the stage, your seats will be – then somebody who purchased tickets on the last day of sale.

All reserved tables of 10 will be included in the “Calling of the Clans”

Tomorrow night is going to be fun – see you there!

Lots of great prizes for Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2012 Dinner

Lots of great raffle prizes for tomorrow's dinner event:

Vancouver Opera
Firehall Arts Centre – Leonard Cohen Play
Wild Rice Restaurant
Floata Seafood Restaurant
Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre
Urban Ink Theatre – Confessions of The Other Woman
Chuck Davis' book “History of Metropolitan Vancouver” from Harbour Publishing
Daphne Marlatt edited book “Opening Doors” from Harbour Publishing
Lots of childrens books from Tradewind Books
new Paul Yee book from Tradewind Books
Lots of books from Arsenal Pulp Press including Charles Demers' “Vancouver Special”
Tix to new Royal BC Museum exhibit in Vancouver Chinatown
Tix to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens
“How the Scots Created Canada” from Lone Pine Publishing
“How the Chinese Created Canada” from Lone Pine Publishing

Gung Haggis Fat Choy on Global Morning News


Allan McMordie and I took Haggis wonton
and Haggis shu-mei to Global Morning News. Sophie Lui and Steve Darling
said they were delicious, they even had seconds!

We did two segments.  The first was cooking.  I heated up some fried rice, and added haggis.  Meanwhile, both Sophie and Steve tried the haggis wonton and haggis shu-mei that had been pre-prepared by the Float Restaurant the night before.

For the second segment, Allan played Scotland the Brave on his bagpipes, then I performed the first verse of Robbie Burns' immortal poem – The Address to the Haggis.  We bantered a bit about how our event makes Chinese New Year safe for Scottish-Canadians, and makes Robbie Burns Day and haggis safe for Chinese-Canadians.  Sophie ate the spicy jellyfish, but Steve politely declined. 

We also talked about how we have set Robbie Burns lyrics to a Johnny Cash song and Allan lets me play my accordion in his celtic ceilidh group, The Black Bear Rebesl.  Sophie said she loved all the fusion and fun of our event.

Click on 11:05 for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy segment on Global Morning News

2012 Gung Haggis Fat Choy press release

18th, 2012

immediate release



Toddish McWong’s

Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Robbie Burns Chinese New Year's Dinner

photo Deb Martin

22nd, 2012


Dinner to 9:15pm – end time

Seafood Restaurant

– 180 Keefer St.



Ticket:  $65 + service Charge, prices for students
and children 

of Ten is $625+ service charge.

Firehall Arts Centre 604-689-0926

25th, 2012 marks the 253rd birthday of the famous Scottish bard, two days
after January 23rd Chinese New Year welcoming the Year of the Dragon
– the most auspicious and sacred animal of the Chinese Zodiac.

Haggis Fat Choy has become synonymous with cultural fusion and fun.  Often imitated, but never as successful,
musical, poetic, delicious, historical nor educative.

FEATURED 2012 Performers:

by Tetsuro Shigematsu and Toddish McWong

Wah – Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Walls – Chinese clapper tales and Chinese scholar

Harry McGrath – Robbie Burns Immortal Memory

Bear Rebels Celtic Ceilidh ensemble

Haggis Fat Choy Pipes & Drums

of dragons + surprises!

1998, “Toddish McWong” held a small private dinner for 16 friends with food,
haggis, poetry and songs – from both Scottish and Chinese cultures and thus was
born –
Gung Haggis Fat Choy
–  Now it is a dinner for 400 people!

than  a traditional dinner with music
and poetry.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
re-imagines a traditional Robert Burns Dinner format, within a BC or Canadian
historical context that puts Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian pioneers on
an inclusive and equal platform, while acknowledging historical racism and how
we move beyond it. This event has grown to also  celebrate contemporary Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian
artists and poets and their innovations to create something uniquely Canadian.


15 Years of Highlights for
Gung Haggis Fat Choy & Toddish McWong:

1998 – 1st Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner for 16 people in a living room.

– 1st Creation of deep-fried haggis won ton

– CBC tv television performance special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”– nominated for 2
Leo Awards

– SFU GHFC Festival with dragon cart racing + human curling

– GHFC photo included in Paul Yee book Saltwater City

– “Address to the Haggis” rap version performed by Todd Wong & Joe McDonald

– GHFC featured in CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy

  Toddish McWong photo in BC Canada
Pavillion during Beijing Olympics.

– photo of Toddish McWong in the Royal BC Museum exhibit “The Party”

– GHFC written about in Charles Demers’ book Vancouver Special

– Toddish McWong featured speaker at Centre for Scottish Studies SFU conference
“Burns in Trans-Atlantic context”

– Toddish McWong photo featured at Scottish Parliament in the exhibit “This is
Who We Are: Scots in Canada.” 

– GHFC dinner inspired Hapa-Palooza Festival for Vancouver 125 Celebrations

Featured poets and authors
have included:

Joy Kogawa, Fred Wah, Brad Cran, Larissa Lai, Rita
Wong, George McWhirter, Jim Wong-Chu, Lensey Namioka, Fiona Tinwei Lam, + Musicians
Silk Road Music, Heather Pawsey soprano, Lan Tung, and Blackthorn + Film makers
Jeff Chiba Stearns, Ann-Marie Fleming and Moyra Rodger.

of the dinner go to Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, Asian Canadian Writers'

Workshop/Ricepaper Magazine and Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  Every dinner guest receives a gift
subscription to Ricepaper Magazine


Menu Highlights include:

haggis won ton + haggis pork dumpling (su-mei) and appetizer courses. 

served Chinese style in the form of pan-fried turnip cake, dim sum style.

haggis is served with Chinese lettuce wrap.

we always feature fun singalongs such as Loch Lomand, My Chow Mein (Bonny) Lies
Over the Ocean, and When Asian Eyes Are Smiling.

lots of surprises… such as new for 2012 – a revamped version of Robbie Burns
lyrics set to Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley music.


media inquires contact:



Photo session for Globe & Mail of Toddish McWong

Snow and Kilts and Accordion and Toddish McWong at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Garden

photo by Deb Martin

The Globe and Mail is doing an interview profile on me for Tuesday January 17th, by journalist Sarah Hampson, and asked photographer Raphael to take pictures of me for the article.  Hampson asked me lots of questions about the hows and whys of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.  She wanted to get the behind the scenes story of my personal motivations, and my community work.  Here is a link to the Hampson article Haggis wontons Robbie Burns night meets Chinese New Year

The Globe & Mail editor had suggested having the pictures taken in Vancouver Chinatown.  I suggested to the photographer that we meet at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens – currently nominated as one of the Great Spaces in Canada.  You can vote here for the Gardens

photo Deb Martin

Deb took some pictures of Raphael taking pictures of me.  The top and bottom pictures were posed exclusively for Deb, after Raphael had left, as we took advantage of the wonderful setting.

photo Deb Martin

This is me reading Robbie Burns' poetry to the pet dragon on my right shoulder.  Somehow, I thought this would make me more scholarly if we took the picture inside the Scholar's Study.

The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens looked incredible with the freshly fallen snow, and the red lanterns set up for the Chinese Lunar New Year season.  On January 29th, I will be returning to the gardens to play accordion with my fellow musicians in the Black Bear Rebels Celtic Ceilidh ensemble for the Chinese New Year celebrations.  We play 2 sets at 2:30 and 3:30pm.  The parade starts at 12 noon and goes to 2pm, so be sure to visit us!

More photos on my Flickr account here:

“How the Chinese Created Canada” and “How the Scots Created Canada” books will be prizes at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner

copies of “How the Chinese Created Canada” have just arrived.
via UPS,
thanks to Lone Pine Publishing… and publisher Shane Kennedy.
destined as prized for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner, as we like to promote both the Scottish and Chinese pioneer history in Canada.
How the Chinese Created Canada provides an in-depth look at the triumphs
and struggles of one of Canada's most vibrant communities.

It's possible that Chinese sailors landed on the shores of the country
that was to become Canada long before Captain George Vancouver set foot
on the west coast, if research proves to be true. But even if the impact
the Chinese had on this land was not felt until they came in larger
numbers to mine for gold or to build the Canadian Pacific Railway, their
influence is seen in every city from Victoria to Halifax. Chinese
culture has permeated the fabric of Canadian society with bold, exciting
cuisine, art, music and alternative approaches to medicine and healing.
Talented and creative individuals have made these concepts an integral
aspect of everyday Canadian culture.

Regardless of the hardships they endured–hazardous work conditions on
the railway line, the government-sanctioned racism of the head tax, the
lack of suffrage in a country where they were supposedly citizens–the
Chinese persevered and forged a new chapter in our collective legacy.
And some of Canada's most influential and interesting people have
emerged from the families of Chinese immigrants–Adrienne Clarkson,
former Governor General; Norman Kwong, lieutenant-governor of Alberta;
Alfred Sung, fashion designer; Stephen Yan, chef and TV host of Wok with
Yan; Patrick Chan, Canadian figure skating champion and so many more.

15 copies of “How the Scots Created Canada” have just arrived too.
destined as prized for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner
thanks to Lone Pine Publishing… and publisher Shane Kennedy.

The Scots who populated the New World that became Canada brought
vitality and a unique character to a vast land. Adventurous, hardworking
and sometimes outrageous, the earliest Scots settlers were rejuvenated
by later waves of immigration. Their spirit epitomized a central theme
of progress and development that permeates our culture and sense of

Some even believe the Scots from the Orkney Islands were the first
Europeans to land here. Or did they crew boats with the Vikings or St.

Their numbers filled every province, and we remember famous and familiar
names, such as Sanford Fleming, Hugh Allan, Alexander Keith, Robert
Service and Alexander MacKenzie. The rogues and scallywags might be less
well known, but their stories give great colour to our past. Even Sir
John A. MacDonald, Canada's first prime minister and the best-known
Father of Confederation, faced scandal and turmoil during his tenure.
Still, Canada's Scots brought you the RCMP, the telephone and standard

Paul Cowan takes us on an insightful, often irreverent journey from the
earliest days of exploration and fur trading through the centuries of
Canadian history. Sit back and pour yourself a nip of Scotch while he
tells tales filled with bold and outrageous characters, the Scots who
really did create Canada.