Gung Haggis Fat Choy invades Ottawa: A Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner hosted by Kristin Baetz and Doug McCallum.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy invades Ottawa:
  
A Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner hosted by Kristin Baetz and Doug McCallum.
  

Doug McCallum and Kristin Baetz play with Lion head masks in their new Ottawa home, as Doug tries to impersonate Toddish McWong – photo courtesy of Baetz/McCallum.

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy home dinner concept is definitely
spreading.  While I have encouraged my friends in Victoria, Calgary,
Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax to invite friends to
their homes and raise a glass or a pint to Toddish McWong, there have
been some complete strangers sending my their stories and pictures.

Kristin Baetz and Doug McCallum attended the 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner in Vancouver, co-hosted by myself, Shelagh Rogers and Tom Chin.  It was the largest one yet at 560 people.  But Kristin and Doug moved to Ottawa,
and so unable to attend the official Gung Haggis Fat Choy
: Toddish
McWong s Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
. they created their
own dinner party for 30 people with home-made haggis won ton.

Below is the story told through e-mails between Kristin and myself.


Chinese Lions approach the Baetz/McCallum home in Ottawa – reminds me of the 2002 GHFC dinner that almost got cancelled due to a rare Vancouver snow storm – photo courtesy of Baetz/McCallum

Kristin:  Hi Todd….  My partner and I spent the last 4 years in Vancouver, and being of partial to Chinese food and of Scottish
decent, we loved attending your Gung Haggis Fat Choy Party.  It was the highlight of our time in
Vancouver.  We have recently moved to Ottawa
and we decided to host our own Gung Haggis Fat Choy Party in our
house…which, though small with only ~30 people, was amazing.  We had
lion dancers, bagpipers and off course haggis wontons.  We thought you
would like to hear about the! spread of your celebration and enjoy
seeing our pictures.


Todd:  Very Cool…. how did you get
the haggis won tons?  Did you make them yourself?  Did you use straight
haggis or did you add water chestnuts to make them crunchy?



K:  I made them myself.  I was surprised to find that a local butcher
sells Haggis year round by the slice (2inches).  Supposedly lots of
people fry it up like a steak for dinner.  Used a slice to make the
stuffing for our won tons
next year I will remember to add the water
chestnuts.   Surprisingly the actually full haggis was big hit, served
it like you did with lettuce and plum sauce so people could wrap it,
and there was none left by the end of the night.  Who would have
thought!!
 

T:  Which dinners did you attend in Vancouver?

K:  We attended the 2005 dinner.

T:  How did you originally hear about Gung Haggis Fat Choy? 


K:  I think we first heard of it on the CBC morning show.  You have
gotten great support from the CBC over the years.  We also saw some of
your posters around town too. 


T:  Can I post your story and pictures to the website?


K:  Sure.  Unfortunately, in all the festivities we
didn't get any shots of our bag-piper lead parade through the house
with the haggis and all the neighborhood kids following, trying to
figure out what was going on.  They weren't too impressed by the
sheep stomach thing.


Chinese Lion Dancers bless the Baetz/McCallum home, and help celebrate the very 1st Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner in Ottawa – photo courtesy of Baetz/McCallum

T:  I hope you read the story about Adam Protter in Whistler BC….


K:  I just did.  He put on a quiet a dinner feast!!  We only had Asian
and Scottish inspired snack food.  Lots of dumplings, satay, stinky
Scottish cheese, Chinese candies, shortbread, gravlax, homemade
egg-rolls and the famous haggis wontons.  And most
important
lots of different scotches to taste and cases of TsingSao
Beer. 


T:  I have wanted to organize a dinner in Ottawa
for the last year, but haven't been able to make it out.  Featured in
the CBC television peformance special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” is
George
Sapounidis
– who lives in Ottawa
Also I have friends Robert Yip who volunteers with Asian Heritage Month
Ottawa, and Pierette a former museum curator.  I would
love to introduce them! to you – and help create an official licenced
Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner that can help develop a local fundraiser
for the community – that would spread joy and the values of
inter-cultural harmony and inclusion to the Ottawa area….or you could
just continue having personal home parties, and raise a dram of whiskey
to “Toddish McWong, creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy.”


K: 
We would certainly be up for meeting people and helping organize a real
dinner one day.  As we have created quite a buzz in our neighborhood
(having lion dancers and bagpipers marching out front of your house
certainly lets people know a new crew are in residence) we think that
for next year we will have another, but larger, house party.  We think
we have a lead on a tin flute band and a highland dancer.  Since we
know he has an appropriate outfit, we might even invite Senator Larry
Campbell next year (HAHA). It is all so exciting.


T:  Thank you very much to you, Kristin, and your partner – for bringing a bright start to my day

K:  No problem.   You brought us two of our most memorable evenings one in Vancouver and one in Ottawa.

All the best, Kristin

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