Category Archives: Robbie Burns Day

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pow Wow Dinner in Nanaimo with Shelagh Rogers

What happens when you combine
Scottish, Chinese & First Nations
BC heritage together?
  
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pow Wow Dinner!


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Shelagh Rogers has impecable timing.  Here CBC Radio flagship show moved to Vancouver in 2004 and asked if I could present a gift for Shelagh.  I created haggis won ton to represent the youngest generations of my family who are of mixed race heritage.  In 2005, Shelagh came to co-host Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner.  

Recently, Shelagh has been hosting Reconciliation pot luck dinners between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.  We hosted a fireside chat at Kogawa House with members of the Japanese, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community.  In a conversation, we came up with the idea that could include the three pioneer cultures of First Nations, Scottish and Chinese.  I called it Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pow Wow Dinner.  Shelagh loved it.

On January 23, 2011 – It became a reality at Iron Wok Restaurant in Victoria.


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Here is a new twist on our famed haggis & shrimp won ton appetizer dish.  It is served with a special sweet sauce flavored with orange.

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This appetizer plate of BBQ pork and jelly fish, included spoons filled with smoked salmon marinated with citrus flavors.

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Lynette shared her Lebanese-Celtic-Canadian heritage by doing a celtic sword dance after a performance of belly dancing, with the sword balanced on her head.  She is wearing a vest featuring the Maple Leaf tartan.

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We called this dish Gung Pow Wow chicken – very tender!

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Here I am making up my haggis lettuce wrap.

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Wild sockeye salmon seared with hot oil, ginger, green onions and soy sauce – yummy!

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Neeps and tatties and sliced beef in a classic Cantonese dish

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Mongolian gold coin beef

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The Jim family shares an offering of thanks for the food and friendship.

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Bagpiper Allan McMordie and my 95 year old Grand-Auntie Helen, who lived in Nanaimo as a child with her grandparents Rev. and Mrs. Chan Yu Tan.  Rev. Chan ministered at the Chinese United Church in Nanaimo, as well as Victoria, Vancouver and New Westminster.  In Nanaimo, he also looked after the miners in Cumberland.

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The Shelagh Rogers dessert – a fusion of Scottish, Chinese and First Nations flavors.  Blueberry sauce on sliced mango and bannock, served with mango and green tea ice cream.


See more pictures in my Flickr set:

Nanaimo Gung Haggis Pow Wow Dinner

Nanaimo Gung Haggis Pow Wow…

Robbie Burns Dinner for Vancouver & District Labour Council

Toddish McWong gives Address to the Haggis
at VDLC Burns Supper

Friday January 21, 2011
Maritime Labour Centre
Vancouver, BC

The Burns Supper by the Vancouver & District Labour Council is one of my favorite Burns Supper events.  It is also a fundraiser for the Queen Alexandra Elementary School hot lunch program.  I also belong to CUPE 391 Vancouver library workers, and I am a delegate for the VDLC.  This past year has been challenging for Queen Alexandra School, because it was one of the schools named to a short list of schools that could be closed due to budget cuts for Vancouver School Board.

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Paul Sihota, Todd Wong, and Bill Saunders, VDLC President.  Bill is wearing the tam hat and bow-tie in Burns check, that I brought back from the Burns Cottage last year from my trip to Scotland.  Paul and I are looking very dapper in our kilt outfits.  We were finalists in the “Best dressed kilt” contest… that was decided by a final showdown between the two of us.  Paul had great applause, but I pushed it further when I stepped up to the stage edge, and performed a kilt twirl.

This was the third year in a row that I have performed the Address to the Haggis at the VDLC Dinner.  Each year I receive great compliments.  Last year, somebody said they were outside the room, and heard a Scottish voice, but walked back into the banquet hall to see a Chinese face… They were surprised!

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Here is the bottle of Glenlivet single malt scotch that I won as a prize.

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Dinner!  There is a wee bit of haggis on the left side of the plate, but I do prefer the roast beef.

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Jim Sinclair, president of the BC Federation of Labour, gives the toast to Robbie Burns, after giving the Immortal Memory – which recounts the life of Robert Burns.  Sinclair highlighted the reasons why Burns was known as “The Ploughman's Poet”, or “workingman's poet”, emphasizing that Burns was also a public employee, while he was an exiseman (tax collector), which he hated doing, and apparently donated some of the taxes to worthy causes.

2011_January_VDLC_Burns_Dinner 027 Click on this video
If you look closely, you will see an Asian Highland Dancer… well half-Asian….

see more pictures here on my Flickr account:

VDLC Burns Dinner

VDLC Burns Dinner

2011 Menu revealed for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

Steamed Wild Sockeye Salmon – new feature for 2011 Menu + new style of haggis won ton

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Bagpipers Trish and Allan McMordie are hungry for wild sockeye salmon – photo T.Wong

It was January 26th, the day after Robbie Burns Day.  We had our taste-test dinner music rehearsal tonight… and are very happy!
Good music and good food – what could be better?  This is a great way for us to ensure that both food quality and music quality is a high standard. 

There are always 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.  !  We have added a new dish – steamed wild sockeye salmon. We have brought back long life E-Fu Noodles and we have created a new look to the Haggis & Shrimp deep-fried won ton.

Vegetarian dishes?  Lots of them… We alternate vegetarian and meat dishes. My mother complains if there aren't enough vegetarian dishes.  Good thing she also eats fish!  If you are looking for beef…. It's in the haggis.

1. Floata Appetizer Platter

a. Haggis Pork dumpling (Shiu Mai)
b. Turnip cake (Lo-bak-goh) Vegetarian
c. Honey BBQ Pork
d. Jelly Fish

2. Deep fried haggis & shrimp won ton – NEW LOOK
3. Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup
4. Traditional Haggis – Beef
5. Diced Vegetable with Lettuce Wrap
6. Steamed Wild Sockeye Salmon with ginger, soy sauce, and seared with hot oil.  NEW
7. Budda Feast with Deep Fried Tofu
8. Deep Fried Crispy Chicken
9. Long Life E-Fu Noodles with Mushroom Sauce  NEW
10. Dessert: Mango & Coconut Pudding

10-course traditional Chinese Dinner featuring:

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1)  
Cold platter (Fusion of Chinese and Scottish Appetizers – Won Ton;
Haggis Siu Mai; and Jelly fish – Vegetarian spring rolls or BBQ pork).

Haggis stuffed shu-mei pork dumplings – 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.
Neeps and tatties
are a tradition serving at Burns dinners, so we like to have 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? 
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 raffle prizes, and sign up for their free subscription to Ricepaper Magazine.
 

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2) Deep-fried Haggis & Shrimp Won Ton – New Look!
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.
My gift was the creation of deep-fried haggis won ton which symbolized the new generations growing up with mixed cultures.  Last weekend in Nanaimo, we again combined with Sh
elagh Rogers and created the inaugural Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pow Wow Dinner for a private party that also celebrated her birthday, as we combined Scottish, Chinese and First Nations history and culture. This NEW LOOK haggis won ton is modeled after that dinner.

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3)   Vegetarian Hot & Sour soup or maybe Winter Melon soup.
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 now. I now support the movement to ban
Shark Fin soup!  

4)   Haggis ( piped in with Scottish bagpipes) Chinese Lettuce wrap with diced vegetables
We
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.

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5) Chinese Lettuce wrap with diced vegetables
How
man
y 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
the haggis.

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6)  Steamed Wild Sockeye Salmon.  This is what I cooked at the very first
Gung Haggis dinner back in 1998, but have never served at the dinners following for some reason  Past seafood dishes have been ginger crab, crab & lobster, pan fried spicy prawns, .  After paddling down the Fraser River
for the “Paddle for Wild Salmon


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7)   Buddha feast with deep-fried tofu
This
is
an important traditional New Year dish – with lots of
vegetables that are good for you such as lotus root, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and mushrooms.  All the good things that every vegetarian
loves.  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.
  Next came the Ox, Tiger, then the Rabbit.

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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)   E-Fu noodles with Mushroom sauce
 
Long
noodles signify long life – a very important part of traditional Chinese
New Year greetings.  I really like the E-Fu noodles.  They are lighter
than regular Chow Mein noodles – very heavenly.  Another traditional
belief is that the Kitchen God goes to heaven, to report on the family. 
Maybe this is why the e-fu noodles are so special! 
This
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).

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10)  Mango & Coconut pudding
Last year we alternated mango and coconut pudding at alternated tables. 
It's always a tradition to have
something sweet after the meal. 
The contrasting tastes of each, heightens the taste of the other.  So now to get both the sweet and subtle flavors, in typical Gung Haggis tradition, we have combined both flavors in one pudding… kind of like a mango-coconut swirl.  We thought about having Scottish blood
pudding… but the moment passed….

Burns Ceremony at Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria

Victoria's Craigdarroch Castle celebrates Robert Burns with a haggis ceremony each year in splendid form

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Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria BC was built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, but unfortunately he died before it was completed.  During his lifetime, Dunsmuir became one of the richest men in North America, as well as premier of BC.  His son James also became premier.  While many cite them for using Chinese miners in their coal mines as strike breakers – it was also the Dunsmuirs who argued against higher Chinese head taxes, and the Exclusion Act – if only so they could have cheap labour.

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“His knife see rustic Labour dight, an' cut ye up wi' ready sleight
Trenching your gushing entrails bright”

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Ye Pow'rs, wha make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o'fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

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All photos by Deb Martin
See more here on my flickr site

Gung Haggis World Poetry Night January 24th at Vancouver Public Library

Gung Haggis World Poetry

returns to Vancouver Library Square

You are invited to the exciting World Poetry evening,
Gung Haggis Fat Choy, at the Vancouver Public Library.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Poster Click to view/print the poster…

Hosts: Todd Wong, Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica-Olea

Special guests:

Steve Duncan- host of Co-Op Radio Wax Poetic

Stephanie Chou

Dr. Ray Hsu – author of Anthropy, Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon

Cara Kauhane

Joe McDonald – bagpiper

Michael Morris

James Mullen

A special blend of contemporary Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian poets,
mixed with ancient Scottish and Chinese traditions
of Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year.

Expect bagpipes, a Chinese dragon, and verbal fireworks!

For origins of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year celebrations – click here
http://www.gunghaggis.com/blog/OriginsofGungHaggisFatChoy/_archives/2004/1/16/14225.html

Gung Haggis Fat Choy SEATTLE!!! Feb 21, 2010

Gung Haggis Fat Choy in the USA

Sunday, February 21st 2010    5-9pm
Ocean City Restaurant
609 S. Weller St.
Seattle Chinatown, WA

Ticket Price US$35
Reservations
required


Scottish Troubadour Red McWilliamsBelltown Martial Arts Lion Dance Troop 
Master, David Leong
 

Pipers Don Scobie & Paul Vegers
Drummers Thane Mitchell & Steven Wheel


Kenmore and District Pipeband 
Pipe Major, Jim McGillivray

The Asian Youth Orchestra 
Director, Warren Chang

Scottish Highland Fiddler Susan Burke  with Bill Boyd


Here's the information from the Caledonians Website

Gung Haggis Fat Choy!  Huh?!  In 2007 Bill
McFadden, President of the Caledonian & St. Andrew's
Society, introduced Todd Wong's  trademarked production of “Gung Haggis
Fat Choy” to Seattle.  Billed as “A Celebration of Chinese New Year and
Robert Burns' Dinner”, the laughter-filled evening included haggis, a
delicious Chinese dinner, Pipes & Drums (traditional and fusion
style), sing-alongs (including “When Asian/Scottish Eyes are Smiling”
and “My Haggis/Chow Mein Lies Over the Ocean”), Poems, The Address tae
the Haggis (delivered in rap to an enthusiastic and responsive crowd)
and Auld Lang Syne sung in both Mandarin Chinese and English.  

For February 21st, 2010
BIll has worked out improvements, and Gung Haggis Fat
Choy IV will be the best year!  We will celebrated the
251st Birthday of Robert Burns and Chinese Lunar New Year Year of the
Tiger with an 8 Course Chinese Dinner, Haggis, Raffle/Door Prize, and
musical entertainment featuring: Emcee “Toddish McWong” and
his inimitable “Address tae the Haggis Rap”, “Red” McWilliams, Sifu
David F. Leong's Belltown Martial Arts,  Kenmore & District Pipe
Band, Piper Don Scobie and Asian Youth Orchestra – Warren Chang, Director

     
  Toddish
McWong's
2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy IV (Seattle style)
Produced by Bill McFadden

The fourth
annual event has been scheduled for
Sunday, February 21st 2010    5-9pm
Ocean City Restaurant
609 S. Weller St.
Seattle, WA

Ticket Price US$35
Reservations
required

For tickets and additional information
please contact
Bill McFadden
(206) 364-6025
bill@gunghaggisfatchoy-seattle.com

Please click here to go to the gunghaggisfatchoy-seattle.com web site.

ToddishMcWong.jpg


Todd
Wong (aka “Toddish McWong”) of Vancouver, B.C., creator of Gung Haggis
Fat Choy.  Recognized in the Scottish Parliament's exhibition:  “This
is Who We Are:  Scots in Canada”.  Photo taken in Edinburgh, October of
2009.

Please click here to view photos in our Gallery from the '07 event in Seattle.

Please click here for a sample of “Toddish McWong's” Haggis Rap!

Please click here for additional information on Todd Wong's annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy held in Vancouver, BC.

 Contact Info for some of our past,
present, and future Featured Entertainers:
 

Todd “Toddish McWong” Wong
 
http://www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com/

Red McWilliams, “America's
Celt”
http://home.flash.net/~celtsong/

Master
David Leong's
Martial Arts & Lion Dance
School
http://www.belltownmartialarts.com

Kenmore & District Pipe Band
http://www.kdpipeband.com

Karen Shelton Highland Dancers
sheltonhighlanddancers.com

  Washington Chinese Youth Orchestra, Director Warren Chang via chinamusic@comcast.net
 
Don Scobiehttp://www.bagpiperdon.com 


Melody Dance Group
Melody
Xie, Director
http://www.melodyinstitute.org 

Northwest Junior
Pipe Band
http://www.nwjpb.org

Ben
Rudd 
Lensey Namiokahttp://www.lensey.com 

Susan Burk http://susanburkeonline.com


Robbie Burns was born in the year of the Tiger.

Robbie Burns Was a Tiger…
what about you?
2010 welcomes the Year of the Tiger
on February 14th.

2009_Scotland_2 052

Zig Zag: The Paths of Burns exhibit, Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow

In 1759, a wee bairn of a boy named Robert was born in a cottage in the village of Alloway, in Ayrshire Scotlandm, on January 25th in the last days of the Chinese Lunar Year of the Tiger.  Four days later on January 29th, Chinese New Year of the Rabbit occurred.

250 years later, Scotland celebrated the year of 2009 as the Year of
Scotland Homecoming, from the 250th Anniversary of Burns' birth on
January 25th, to November 30th St. Andrew's Day.

2009_Scotland_1 036 by you. Kelvingrove Museum, Glasglow

Something special about Robert Burns and his poetry have endeared him to the people of Scotland and around the world.  He is said to be one of the most translated poets into almost every language around the world.  At the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, we sing the first verse of Auld Lang Syne in Mandarin Chinese.

Do you think the Year of the Tiger qualities fit Robert Burns?

Year of the Tiger qualities

The Tiger is said
to be lucky vivid, lively and engaging. Another attribute of the Tiger
is his incredible bravery, evidenced in his willingness to engage in battle
or his undying courage. Maybe he’s so brave because he is so lucky.

Tigers do not find
worth in power or money. They will be completely honest about how they
feel and expect the same of you. On the other hand, they seek approval
from peers and family. Generally, because of their charming personalities
Tigers are well liked. Often, failing at a given task or being unproductive
in his personal or professional life can cause a Tiger to experience a
depression. Criticism from loved ones can also generate this type of Tiger
reaction. Still, like all felines, Tigers always land on their feet, ready
for their next adventure
.

The Year of the Tiger seems to have been significant in the development of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner events.

On May 11th, Todd Wong was born in 1960, the Year of the Rat. He is a descendant of Rev. Chan Yu Tan, who arrived in Canada in 1896 as a Methodist Lay Preacher.  Todd is from the fifth generation that his family has lived in Vancouver.

Generations Chan Legacy 127 Toddish McWong in 1993

The first time I wore a kilt was in 1993.  Chinese New Year was January 23rd, the Year of the Chicken.  Robbie Burns Day was January 25th. I was to wear a kilt and carry a claymore (Scottish sword) in the Simon Fraser University Burns Day ceremonies.  Realizing that the two most important days in Chinese and Scottish culture were only 2 days away from each other, I coined the phrase “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” and called myself “Toddish McWong.”  My picture appeared in the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province… and even though I wouldn't wear a kilt or participate in a Burns ceremony again for years… friends would still tease me about wearing the kilt and call me “Toddish McWong.”

The next time Chinese New Year came close to January 25th was in 1998.  The Year of the Tiger began on January 28th.  This was the first Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner on Sunday January 25th.  It was held in the livingroom of a North Vancouver townhouse. My friend Gloria and I invited 14 of our friends to help create a multicultural mixing of Chinese and Scottish traditions… and everything in-between and beyond.  I had never before been to a Burns Supper before, and had to go to the Vancouver Public Library to look up directions.  I brought in poems from the 1998 anthology “Many Mouthed Birds” Contemporary writing by Chinese Canadians.  Even back then, the emphasis was on mult-culturalism and inter-culturalism, as we invited friends to play a song or read a poem.

Here are some of the words from that first invitation:
 

We are creating a celebration of Canadian culinary portions to celebrate the proximity of Robbie Burns Day (Jan 25) and Chinese New Year (Jan 28).  We ask you to help us share our unique perspective of multiculturalism with all Canadians, so that we all may better understand each other.

This Sunday, on January 25, we are creating a “Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner” for 20 invited friends.  Haggis will be bagpiped in at 6pm sharp and served with traditional “neets and taters.”[sic]  Accompanying the haggis will be an assortment of Chinese sauces such as black bean, sweet and sour & chinese plum sauce to help facilitate the palatability of this “offal” dish.

It is important for Canadians to know that we are more that “Two Solitudes.”  We are “multi-solitudes” and we must be proactive in our association and integration to avoid separation anxiety and solitary depression.  As former lieutenant governor David Lam said, “Multiculturalism is like a pot-luck dinner, everybody brings something – and if you can’t, you offer to wash the dishes.

2009 saw the closest occurrence of both Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year, as January 25th fell on Chinese New Year's Eve.  It was also the designated year of Homecoming Scotland, a global celebration to invite all Scots and Scottish descendants home to Scotland to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.  Chinese New Year ended with the Year of the Rat and welcomed the Year of the Ox.  The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner was one of several Burns Suppers around the world that received one of 250 specially made bottles of 37 year old Famous Grouse blended whisky.  250 for the anniversary of Burns.  37 for the age of Burns when he died.  These bottles were auctioned off for charity.  We chose to donate 50% of money raised to go to the Burns 250 project, of the Scottish National Trust, for which I discovered that they have a Chinese punch bowl that Robert Burns used at the wedding of his brother Gilbert.

Homecoming Year celebrations went on all through 2009.  In October, I received an invitation to Scottish Parliament for the Closing Reception of the  “This is Who We Are: Scots in Canada” exhibition.  I decided I had to go to Scotland.  On November 28th, I finally arrived at Glasgow Airport for my first trip to Scotland, after spending way too many hours in a plane from Vancouver on January 27th, and a 7 hour stopover in Amsterdam.  Exhibit curator Harry McGrath had told me that my picture was “featured rather prominently” – but he didn't tell me if was life-size!

2009_Scotland_ThisIsWhoWeAre 098 Toddish McWong in 2009

My visit was only one week, but I saw many Burns exhibits at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgove and the Zig Zag: The Paths of Burns at the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow.  I traveled to Ayr and saw the same Robert Burns Statue that is in Vancouver's Stanley Park.  Further down the road, I visited Burns Cottage where Burns was born in the village of Alloway. Burns National Park contains the soon-to-be demolished “Tam O'Shanter Experience” which is being replaced by the Burns Birthplace Museum. A short walk past the Church is Brig O' Doon – the site of the bridge in Burns' famous poem Tam O'Shanter.

2009_Scotland6 116 Burns Cottage, Alloway Scotland

And now it is 12 years after that first “accidental” Gung Haggis Fat
Choy dinner.  The Year of the Tiger is again coming after Burns
Birthday.  But much later in 2010, on February 14th. For the City of Vancouver, this is also the Year of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games (Feb 12 – 28).  What is next for the Legacy of Robert Burns?  Well in 2010 Summer, the Robert Burns National Birthplace Museum will open… in the Year of the Tiger.

2009_Scotland6 132 by you.
Burns Birthplace Museum – opening Summer 2010.

2009_Scotland6 131 by you.
Here's a website for 1645-1899
http://pinyin.info/chinese_new_year/cny1645-1899.html

Year of the Tiger
http://www.usbridalguide.com/special/chinesehoroscopes/Tiger.htm

Google News Alert for “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”

Here are some of the media interviews about Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner + other stories

Every year I do media interviews.  On Robbie Burns Day, I was woken up at 7am by a request from BBC Radio Scotland.  Yesterday, I did an interview for French CBC television.  Monday was Epoch Times.  Last week the Georgia Straight did a food feature article.  Somewhere in Scotland there is an interview in the Sunday Post.  Even SFU, Seattle and North Shore News have stories about Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner this year.  Check out the links:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is the ultimate fusion feast

Straight.com – Carolyn Ali – ‎Jan 21, 2010‎
“People really like haggis dim sum,” says Todd Wong, otherwise known as Toddish McWong. He's organizing the 12th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner,

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Celebrates Chinese and Scottish Heritage

The Epoch Times – Ryan Moffatt – ‎11 hours ago‎
At first glance not a lot, but if you ask Todd Wong, founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, the two partner together quite well. “In Canada they talk about the

Food Calendar

North Shore News – Pamela Stone, Debbie Caldwell – ‎4 hours ago‎
Gung Haggis Fat Choy:
The annual Scottish and Chinese cultural, musical and literary event
featuring intercultural food, fun, poems and music, Sunday, Jan.

Join the Burns Day fun Jan. 25

Simon Fraser University News – ‎Jan 21, 2010‎
And don't forget to stay for Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a fun meld of Chinese New Year and Burns Day festivities, with dragon cart races, haggis and egg rolls.

Like a trip home

The Kingston Whig-Standard – Ian Elliot – ‎Jan 25, 2010‎
and a unique Canadian twist is a Scottish- Chinese fusion born in Vancouver known as Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners that feature haggis wontons and other

Vancouver taste treat: haggis won ton

Crosscut (blog) – Knute Berger – ‎19 hours ago‎
The menu for the 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner in Vancouver has been revealed, and it combines the celebratory influences of Chinese New Year with the

Food and Culture Topic of Presentation

Opinion250 News (blog) – ‎Jan 9, 2010‎
We also attend boundary-blurring festivals, such as Gung Haggis Fat Choy Day,” says Dr. Iwama, who has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies.



Happy 251st Birthday Rabbie!

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Happy
Rabbie Burns Day!

Here is the the Robert Burns Statue in Vancouver's Stanley Park, yesterday on January 24th.

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The statue overlooks Coal Harbour and Vancouver's West End.

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The bronze plaque says the statue was erected on August 25th, 1928 – that's almost 82 years ago.

January 25th was a long day for me.  It started off early with a phone call from BBC Radio Scotland.

BBC Radio Scotland woke me up at 7am for a 9:30 am
interview.  There is 8 hours time difference.  After I was woken up, it was hard to get back to sleep, so I got onto the computer and listened to BBC Radio Scotland for awhile.  It's always fun to listen to them both on New Year's Eve and Robbie Burns Day.  Today was dedicated to everything Burns.  They called me back around 9: 25 am and I listened to many different aspects of Burns.  It was the program Drive, as many Scots are making their afternoon commute home. 

Just before 10am PST/ 6pm GMT, they interviewed somebody having a Burns Supper in Antarctica. It was a fascinating story, about how cold it is there, and how their haggis comes in from the supply ship. And then they said they were going to Vancouver Canada, where Toddish McWong organizes a Robbie Burns Dinner with Chines food.  I described the first 4 courses as an appetizer dish with haggis dim sum in the form of pork dumplings (su-mei), pan-fried Chinese turnip cake (for the neeps and tatties), served with honey bbq pork and jelly fish.

Second dish is deep-fried haggis and shrimp won ton, which the radio announcer seemed to like.  Dish 3 is vegetarian winter melon soup, followed by dish 4 – traditional haggis served with Chinese lettuce wrap, so people can put some of the mixed vegetable filling with Chinese hoi sin bbq sauce on a lettuce leaf, then spoon in some haggis, and wrap it up like a hamburger to eat it!

Then they asked if I read any of Burns poetry.  This was the cue for me to perform my “rap version” of “Address to the Haggis”
I rapped the first verse:

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm!

I told them that we have 500 people punching their fists into the air, yelling “As lang's my arm” and they had to laugh and say… “That's all the time we have now…”

Darn – way too short!


Menu revealed for 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner to welcome Year of the Tiger

What is on the dinner menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner?

RL101 by you.
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:

1)  
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.
 

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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.

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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!  

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4)   Haggis ( piped in with Scottish bagpipes) served with Chinese Lettuce wrap with diced vegetables
We
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.



How
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
the haggis.

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5)  Pan-fried spicy salted prawns (Jew-Yim-Hah). 
This is
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
do!

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6)   Buddha feast
This
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.

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7)   Gold Coin Beef (Beijing Capital style)
It's
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

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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
This
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!

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10)  Mango or Coconut pudding
This
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.