Blackthorn celtic music band
Haggis haggis everywhere!
Here are the latest media stories about Gung Haggis Fat Choy, as Todd appears on Rock 101's Bro Jake Show, Shaw TV's The Express and CBC Newsworld + Georgia Straight.
I am on the Bro Jake Show with Vancouver City councilor Raymond Louie –
some time between 7:30am and 8:45 Classic Rock 101 FM
The Express on SHAW TV – channel 4
Friday January 25 – Robbie Burns Day
at 10am, 11am, 11:30am, 2pm, 3pm
– good shots of Michelle Carlisle from Blackthorn
– Todd playing accordion
– lots of food – with Catherine Barr, Charlie Cho, George McWhirter, Deb Martin and Leanne Riding.
CBC News World somewhere between 5pm and 6:30pm
CBC TV 26 – Todd Wong interview + Haggis Rap by Todd & Joe McDonald
+ Georgia Straight – Straight Choices – Jan 24
King of Culture – page 19
Georgia Straight – Blog – Jan 16
I will wear a kilt’ to Robbie Burns dinner, Coun. Raymond McLouie …
Raymond Louie will be kilted for Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Raymond McLouie and Toddish McWong will appear on the Bro Jake Show on Rock 101.
January 25th, Robbie Burns Day
somewhere between 7:30 and 8:45am
The rumours are true. Vancouver city councilor Raymond Louie will be seen in attire other than his dapper suits. Raymond has supported Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners in the past, bringing his family to the 2006 dinner featuring children's entertainers Rick Scott and Harry Wong.
‘I will wear a kilt’ to Robbie Burns dinner, Coun. Raymond McLouie promises Gung Haggis Fat Choy organizer Todd Wong
Vancouver has a large Scottish diaspora. There is a Scottish Cultural Studies program at Simon Fraser University, also home to one of the best bagpipe bands in the world. There is a stature of Robbie Burns in Stanley Park. There are TWO Robbie Burns dinners in Vancouver Chinatown… the 45+ year old tradition by the Chinatown Lions Club which is a traditional Burns type supper… and of course the wild and wacky Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, created by yours truly – Toddish McWong
It is this latter dinner that is considered a “Friend of Scotland” and posted on the web page article A Thistle Wrapped in Maple Leaves.
Sometimes I get invited to Scottish events by the British Consulate in Vancouver. Here is the First Minister's 2008 message for Burns Night, sent to me from Russell Walker:
This month we are celebrating
Scotland's national bard, Rabbie Burns. All over Scotland, and the
world, people are organising Burns Suppers and ceilidhs celebrating the
poet with a supper of haggis, neeps and tatties.
Burns Night brings all of Scotland's
cultures together to celebrate our country's national poet, beloved
songwriter and cultural ambassador. The range of Burns' work is vast.
Writing in the late eighteenth century, he dealt with major themes of
his day such as politics and the role of the Kirk; as well as the
eternal questions of love, social justice and nationhood.
The Scotland of Burns' day owed him
much. Burns not only helped to restore Scots' pride and confidence in
the nation. He also did his best to support the Scots language when it
was under threat. Published in 1786, the 'Kilmarnock volume' – or
Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect – contained some of Burns' best
work and it was a timely boost for Scotland's language and culture.
Modern Scots also owe a debt to Rabbie
Burns. As one of our nation's greatest figures, he embodies many of our
distinctive qualities: compassion, humanity and a passion for learning
– as well as a sharp wit and an urge to question conventional wisdom.
When we honour Rabbie Burns, we don't simply remember a great poet and
songwriter. We also pay homage to a man of enduring vision and values;
a Scot who showed us our uniqueness and our huge potential.
The celebration of our national Bard
doesn't end at our shores. Events will be held across the world. From
St Andrews to St Petersburg, Burns is celebrated in every corner of the
globe. The Bard's universality is shown by the number of events today,
remembering him with a dram of whisky, Burns Supper, and recital of his
This year, Burns Night will also close
Scotland's first ever Winter Festival. Looking back to the wonderful
events we have held for St Andrew's Day and Hogmanay, the Winter
Festival has been a huge success for our nation. I am greatly looking
forward to the celebrations in years to come and to our Homecoming 2009
Here's to Burns, his enduring legacy, his pride in our nation and his inspiration for our Homecoming celebrations – for auld lang syne.
Yours for Scotland
Alex Salmond MP MSP, First Minister of Scotland
International Networks – “Global Friends of Scotland”
Europe, External Affairs and Culture
5 Cadogan St
+44 (0) 141 242 5791
Read our features on modern Scotland at
Yesterday was the deadline… CBC Radio 690 AM had put its big guns special projects Sheila Peacock and programs director Joan Andersen to the task to drum up 1000 letters of support for its application to move to FM. For the past two weeks, CBC Radio One has not only been asking its listeners to write letters to CRTC, but also personally phone calling and e-mailing its “friends in the community.”
I was contacted by Sheila Peacock and wrote:
Radio is and important part of Vancouver's arts and political
community. The move to FM will greatly enhance how it can serve the
Metro Vancouver community. When CBC radio was locked out – it was a
terrible blow to the local arts community, and stopped the
dissemination of information for many small organizations who could not
otherwise reach the broad audience that CBC AM reaches.
further enhance and develop the benefit of Canadian culture, we need a
stronger CBC. We need to provide our national public radio with the
best reach possible to ensure the best use of our tax dollars and to
fulfill it's mandate – especially “be made available throughout Canada
by the most appropriate and efficient means and as resources become
available for the purpose, and reflect the multicultural and
multiracial nature of Canada.
No other radio station is able to
specifically transcend the multicultural hodgepodge of isolated
language groups into an effective post-multicultural and
interculturally inclusive community in the way that CBC 690 Radio does
and can do.
As Todd Wong, creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy:
Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, we are an
example of that new and developing Canadian culture that recognizes 1)
our Canadian heritage 2) our ancestral heritage and 3) the unique
fusion as we combine, evolve and create.
Through CBC AM radio –
we have shared our vision and activities not only locally in Vancouver
on shows such as Early Edition, BC Almanac, North By Northwest and On
the Coast, but also nationally through shows like Sounds Like Canada,
Richardson's Round Up, and Freestyle.
It is therefore imperative that CBC 690 AM be allowed access to FM radio.
Sheila wrote back today:
No longer considered a cultural fusion hybrid event…
Food critic Mia Stainsby calls us tri-brid!
A list of really cool Burns Dinners and special food events came out in the January 23 Vancouver Sun today. We accompany articles about a $1200 one ounce tasting from a 1795 bottle of cognac, and a $95 Burns Dinner at Boneta Restaurant…. pretty nice company for our little 10 course Chinese dinner with a “Vancouver special – deep-fried haggis wun tun”- Check it out:
Haggis Fat Choy: This Scottish-Chinese-Canadian tri-brid event
celebrates its 10th year on Jan. 27 at Floata Restaurant. A 10-course
Chinese banquet includes a Vancouver special, deep-fried haggis wun
tun, as well as music (Blackthorn, a Celtic band; bagpipes ) and poetry
(poet laureate George McWhirter), and a sneak preview of the play, The
Quickie by playwright Grace Chin. The evening starts at 5:30 with a
reception and appetizers, with dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets are $64.50 for
adults; $54 for students; $43.50 for children 13 and under. Order
tickets at 604-631-2872.
Today was a busy Gung Haggis Day….
I took some table reservations, confirmed other seating arrangments, found out when Shaw TV's “The Express” will run tomorrow on Jan 24, and Robbie Burns Day on Jan 25th.
Bagpiper Joe McDonald and I discussed a new arrangement for our rap version of Gung HAGGIS RAP Choy, for when we perform for CBC Newsworld on Friday.
I met up with a major distributor of fine spirits, for sponsorship an donations for our event. I can't tell you anything now… but I have promised surprises for our 10th Anniversary.
I picked up 50 haggis (or is the plural haggisses or haggi?), from Peter Black & Sons – my favorite haggis maker, at Park Royal South. Delivered them to Floata Restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown… and worked on some more arrangements for the big event!
Down the street at the Radha Yoga Centre, writer Alexis Kienlen held the Vancouver launch of her poetry book “She Dreams in Red.” It was nice to Alexis who has been writing and editing in Grande Prairie AB. She is a past literary editor for Ricepaper Magazine, and on her way to participate in the Canadian Cooperative Association's upcoming Study Mission to the Philippines where she will be responsible for documenting the trip, and writing stories for various Canadian media outlets.
We like Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre… Tom Chin has been a past co-host for Gung Haggis Fat Choy. VACT created Asian Comedy Night, and Sex in Vancouver. VACT specializes in being funny and creating fun. Hope you can attend their January 26th event. Check it out:
T’s FiRst-evEr Fund-raisEr is now a FREE FUN-raiser!
Gung Hay Fat Choy! Year of the Rat good fortune comes early to VACT – and you.
With tremendous support from our friends at ExplorASIAN, VACT is thrilled to announce that admission to this weekend’s incredible VACT Fundraiser event is now FREE*!
The Rat signals new beginnings so this is a great way to introduce VACT to your FRiEnds, old and nEw, and your family. Come to the Norman Rothstein Theatre on Saturday January 26 at 7:30 PM to jumpstart 2008 with us with an evening of guaranteed good laffs!
* However, we do suggest a donation at the door if you can… We’re always very appreciative of your support and we prove it with every show we produce!
WHAT? VACT’S FUN-RAISER
WHEN? Saturday, January 26, 2008, @ 7:30pm
WHERE? Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st Avenue (at Oak), Van.
HOW MUCH? FREE! Or with a suggested donation $10
WHO? Funny Man, Tom Chin
Beautiful and Talented Actor, Olivia Cheng
Standup Comedian, Jeffery Yu
Elvis Tribute Artist, Aaron Elvis Wong
Sketch Comedy Groups:
Lick the Wax Tadpole
SFUU MAN CHU
Caricature Artist, Geoffery Wong
WHY? To See a FREE show and party with VACT performers, volunteers to help raise funds for VACT’s 2008 season! Here’s your chance to find out what VACT is all about!
Hurry! This event is free – and tickets are first-come-first-served at the door. So come early to avoid disappointment.
But you can reserve a seat by signing up for our free newsletter of VACT events – one name and working email address per ticket. Email your info to FUNraiser@vact.ca
All reserved tickets are held up to 7:15 PM, after which, they will be released to the public at the door. For more information, visit www.vact.ca
Watch The Express on Shaw TV today and Friday – for Gung Haggis Fat Choy interview with Todd Wong and Michelle Carlisle!
Sukhi Ghuman did a really nice story with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy gang for Shaw TV's The Express – “that brings an in-depth look at the fascinating
people, events, recreation and attractions from Greater Vancouver.”
Thursday January 24 – Robbie Burns Day Eve
at 6pm, 6:30pm, 10:30pm, 12am
Friday January 25 – Robbie Burns Day
at 10am, 11am, 11:30am, 2pm, 3pm
She brought cameraman Zac Radcliffe and they both sat down with us to enjoy the haggis wun tun, shrimp balls and other tasty dinner courses as we taste-tested our 2008 menu. They also met some of our featured guest performers such as: poet George McWhirter, Blackthorn flute singer/vocalist Michelle Carlisle, film maker Ann Marie Fleming and media columnist Catherine Barr.
Sukhi is absolutely cute as a button and could inspire us to create a Lion-headed, kilt-wearing, bangra dancing entry for the Vancouver International Bangra Competition – for which she is Media correspendent.
dinner. Thank you for inviting us. The story will air tonight at 6pm
8pm, 10pm 12am and Friday at 10am, 11am 2pm, and 3pm.
Everybody said the food was really good!
Poet George McWhirter was amazed. Media columnist Catherine Barr was in awe! Film maker Ann Marie Fleming had smiles on her face! Blackthorn flautist Michelle Carlisle loved it!
We went to Floata to test-taste the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy menu. We started with a deep-fried haggis/shrimp wun tun, shrimp-filled haw-gow, haggis/pork su-mei, and vegetarian spring rolls… that was our appetizer.
Sukhi Ghuman arrived with her cameraman Zak to shoot an interview and help taste-test some food for an upcoming episode of The Express on Shaw TV. “The Express is a lifestyle magazine program that brings you an in-depth look at the fascinating
people, events, recreation and attractions from Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.” Sukhi asked me about the origins of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, and how I came to create this cultural fusion event that blends Chinese and Scottish traditions.
“It's bringing about recognizing the pioneer histories of the Scottish-Canadians and Chinese-Canadians of BC, while recognizing that despite the racism of history, these peoples have met, dated, fallen in love and produced babies. It's also about overcoming the racism of the head tax, the discrimination, and recognizing the future of Canada when people are Eurasian or Hapa-Canadian. This is our world now. This is our Canada… and it involves being inclusive of our different and diverse cultural heritages.”
We sat down at the table with our 10 guests including George and Angela McWhirter – Vancouver Poet Laureate, Charlie Cho – our stage manager, Catherine Barr – media columnist, Leanne Riding – ACWW co-president and Gung Haggis dragon boat paddler, Carl Schmidt – our sound tech, Ann Marie Fleming – film maker, Michelle Carlisle and her son – Blackthorn flute player, and Deb Martin – my girlfriend and veteran of 5 Gung Haggis dinners, the Gung Haggis CBC TV special, and 5 years of the Gung Haggis dragon boat team.
The Hot & Sour soup came next. Sukhi is vegetarian, so I pointed out that the vegetarian spring rolls are tasty, and if she eats fish – then the shrimp-filled haw-gow dumplings are one of my favorite dim sum foods. Buddhists feast is another of our tasty vegetarian dishes and is a traditional Chinese New Year dish.
“Haggis really is offal stuff,” to the laughter of the Scots-Canadians at our table, as I explained what haggis is made of. “It's made from the organs of a sheep – the heart, liver and mixed with oatmeal. You have to remember that a lot of the Scottish crofters were poor after battle of Culloden and the Scottish uprisings against the English. The oatmeal helped the sheep go farther on the dinner table. It's not unlike a lot of Chinese food, where you use every bit of everything. I have eaten trip – sheep's stomach lining… and ox tail in Chinese cooking. So when the Chinese people don't eat up the haggis at our dinner, it's because of the oatmeal,” I said to much laughter.
Catherine Barr, who says she is first generation Scottish-Canadian because her parents literally came off the boat many years ago, reminded us that hot dogs are much worse than haggis because they are made from pork renderings…. the ears and other parts of the animal.
We trust Catherine to know these things, because she grew up very steeped in Scottish culture. I first got to know about her, because her father was the president of the Burns Club of Vancouver back in 2003. My friendship with William Barr grew, and he invited me to Burns Club meetings, and I invited him to our Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night, and he invited me to Burns Club Robbie Burns dinners based on the Tarbolton Bachelor Club. Catherine is going to introduce us to a Burns Supper tradition we have been remiss in replicating – the Toast to the Lassies. Throughout our taste-testing dinner, she got to know the history of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, and how it pokes fun at Scots-Canadians and Chinese-Canadians, while celebrating its traditions, achievements and peoples. She knows we can be wacky, quirky, reverent, irrelevant, and full of fun. Catherine is going to plan something special for us.
Soon the haggis arrived, and Zak the cameraman made the waiter bring it to the table a couple of times, so he could get some great shots. I picked up a lettuce leaf, slathered it with hoi-sin bbq plum sauce, added some haggis, then some lettuce wrap filling of diced vegetables and crunchy noodles…. folded the lettuce over… bit into it… and mugged for the camera… I had to repeat for a different angle.
We also ate Mongolian Beef, Shrimp balls, and e-fu long life noodles. All of the food was very very tasty. Michelle Carlisle and I brought out her flute and my accordion, and we improvised a duet of Loch Lomand, and Auld Lang Syne for the camera. Sukhi also did a short interview with Michelle, about her involvement with Gung Haggis Fat Choy and her band Blackthorn.
One of the highlights of the evening was a poem George McWhirter read for us. He especially wrote a poem embracing Scottish and Chinese cultures, and about our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner. I can't tell you anything more… but he really pokes fun at Scottish, Irish, Chinese and Canadian customs… and he snuck my name into it!!!
George and his wife Angela really LOVED our Gung Haggis Fat Choy taste-testing dinner… and are amazed that there are going to be up towards 400 people attending!
Where is Toddish McWong and his kilt? Lots of events popping up in Vancouver and in the media.
The following events feature Todd Wong, Gung Haggis Fat Choy, or are associated.
Alexis Kienlen, author reading at Radha Yoga Centre
728 Main St
Alexis is one of our favorite Hapa authors. She was a featured author for our Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry night at the Vancouver Public Library in 2006. She has also helped volunteer at past Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners.
January 24th SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival
SFU Recreation Department
11:30 – 1:30 Convecation Mall
SFU Burnaby Campus
(Todd Wong MC and dragon cart race commentator)
This is the event inspired by the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner and poetry nights, where we fuse what we think is Scottish or Chinese culture and come up with something uniquely and wackily Canadian like Dragon Cart Racing…. or Human Curling…
Jan 24th Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club – Burns Dinner
(Todd Wong giving Immortal Address)
This dinner has been going on for 47 odd years. This was the first dinner that served haggis with sweet and sour sauce at the old Bamboo Restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown.
8:30am?? The Bro Jake Show on Rock 101
with Vancouver city councilor Raymond Louie… aka “Raymond McLouie”
Joe McDonald and Toddish McWong
perform Gung HAGGIS RAP Choy – rap version of Robbie Burns immortal poem “Address to a Haggis”
airing live at 1:00pm PST for 6pm NewFoundLand
Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
#400 – 180 Keefer St
The 10th Anniversary of the quirky and unique but contemporarily Canadian fusion dinner.
Featuring celtic band Blackthorn, poet George McWhirter, Bagpiper Joe McDonald and his band Brave Waves, playwright Grace Chin… and lots of surprises, raffle prizes, singalongs, and fun fun fun! This is the dinner that started it all… inspiring a CBC Vancouver television performance special, a multicultural festival at SFU, and a poetry night at the Vancouver Public Library.
Tickets available www.ticketstonight.ca
NEW order by phone 604-631-2872
Jan 28th Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Event
7pm Vancouver Public Library
Alice Mackay Room
Featuring Vancouver poet laureate George McWhirter and Governor Generals Award for Poetry winner Fred Wah, with other contemporary Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian poets. And Todd Wong's accordion, Joe McDonald's bagpipe and Rebecca Blair's celtic harp.
Feb 24th Gung Haggis Fat Choy Seattle.
The 2nd annual dinner – benefit for Pacific North West Junior Pipe Band
More details to come…