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THIS YEAR IS IT!  EVERY 60 YEARS ROBBIE BURNS DAY AND LUNAR NEW YEAR FALL ON THE SAME DAY!   IT ONLY HAPPENS ONCE EVERY 60 YEARS!

JOIN US for this cosmic countdown to start off your year!  And enjoy an evening of intercultural fusion at Gung Haggis 2020 with food, music, readings, and scotch!  

This year’s schedule of events include:

  • A dinner menu, with the now world-renowned haggis wonton
  • More readings, more music, and more fun!
  • sneak peak of the menu from previous Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners

About Gung Haggis:

It was 1998 and as the Chinese Lunar New Year fell only two days away from Robbie Burns Day, which is always January 25, Todd decided to celebrate the Scottish Bard’s birthday along with the Lunar New Year.  “Gung Haggis Fat Choy!” said Wong, “I can celebrate two cultures at the same time.”  And thus was born the Vancouver cultural premiere that culinary and media personalities have come to celebrate this cultural mashup that features deep-fried haggis wontons, haggis dim sum, and haggis lettuce wrap with a glass of scotch each year. 

 Gung Haggis Fat Choy started out as a small fundraiser of 16 people in 1998 in a crowded living room. Twenty years later it serves dinner at the biggest Chinese Restaurant in North America, and has spun off a CBC television performance special, and the SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Canadian Games.   


“Gung Haggis Fat Choy is the ultimate fusion feast.” – Georgia Straight

“Haggis wontons? Robbie Burns Night meets Chinese New Year.” – Globe & Mail

“Gung Haggis Fat Choy: This Canadian Celebration Combines Robert Burns Night and Chinese New Year.” – Smithsonian

“Haggis and Chow Mein Collide at Seattle’s Gung Haggis Fat Choy.” – Vice

“Hold the sheep’s stomach lining.” – MacLean’s Magazine


For more information, visit https://www.gunghaggis.com/.

Apologies from Toddish McWong for being MIA

Hello to all,

Sorry I have been absent from my blog – for most of the past few years.
From 2012 to 2015 I was busy with Eldercare for both parents, and my father passed away in November 2015. A year later on Christmas Night, I went to Lions Gate Hospital Emergency, then was whisked away by ambulance, to Vancouver General Hospital Heart Trauma Unit – for emergency surgery for Aortic Dissection.

I just had my 3 year check up with my cardiologist – and things are going well. It has been a slower than expected recovery over the past 3 years. But I am now back to work full-time. I am playing music on accordion with my friends of the Black Bear Rebels Ceilidh Ensemble 2X month or more. The Asian Canadian Writers Workshop and Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, keep me on their board of directors.

I thank the many friends and family for helping me and my parents during these past few years. I especially thank my girlfriend Deb Martin, my cousin Gail Young, and special thanks to my ACWW partner Allan Cho & ACWW for keeping our ACWW and Gung Haggis Fat Choy events going, and to the Black Bear Rebels Ceilidh Music Ensemble for all that we do!

I am especially looking forward to this year’s 2020 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, when Chinese New Year’s Eve collides with Robbie Burns Day Eve – for the first time in my lifetime, since participating in the SFU Robbie Burns Day celebrations in 1993, and hosting a Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner in 1998!

Cheers, Todd

2020 Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner returns for January 24th, 2020

THIS YEAR IS IT! For the first time in 60 YEARS ROBBIE BURNS DAY AND LUNAR NEW YEAR FALL ON THE SAME DAY!
IT ONLY HAPPENS ABOUT ONCE EVERY 60 YEARS!

JOIN US for this cosmic convergence countdown to start off your year!
And enjoy an evening of intercultural fusion at Gung Haggis 2020 with food, music, readings, and scotch!

This year’s schedule of events include:

A dinner menu, with the now world-renowned haggis wonton
More readings, more music, and more fun!
A sneak peak of the menu from previous Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners

Tickets are available on Eventbrite – Sales end on January 23 – one day before event on January 24th.
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/gung-haggis-fat-choy-2020-the-60-year-eclipse-tickets-83657304249

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dim sum lunch!

We are trying something different this year. Dim sum lunch.
Our menu features a variety of traditional dishes, often with haggis fusion cuisine.
We strive for a nice balance of vegetarian and meat dishes that many people can enjoy.
A Vegetarian soup and traditional Buddha’s Feast dish + seafood and meat dish.
This year we celebrate the Year of the pig.

Two of our featured guests include: Scottish-Canadian Author John Maclachlan Gray,
author of The White Angel – a mystery novel that is based on a true life unsolved murder
of Scottish Nanny Janet Smith, and the accusation and acquittal of her friend,
Chinese houseboy Wong Foon Sien.

Chinese born musician Zhongxi (Jonesey) Wu plays both bagpipes and traditional Chinese instruments.
He has performed at Gung Haggis Fat Choy events many years ago, for both our dinner and
an event for First Night Vancouver. He has even played Mull of Kintyre on stage with Paul McCartney.

House band is Black Bear Rebels Ceilidh Ensemble. My dear musical friends that I play celtic,
Scottish and Cdn songs with 2X months usually. They have taught me much about Celtic songs,
musicianship, and drinking scotch whisky.

More introductions to come.

Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy 2019 will be April 6th Tartan Day.

Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dim Sum is now set for April 6th Tartan Day.

Chinese traditional dim sum & food, combined with Scottish haggis.
Bagpipes, Chinese music, + ceilidh singalong
Robert Burns poetry & song
Chinese Canadian poetry and film
+ plenty of surprises and guests.

Floata Restaurant 180 Keefer St.
Chinatown Vancouver.

More info soon.

March 2019 will be next Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

The RETURN of Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy Dinner will now be March 2019

The last time we did a public Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner was March 16, 2014.
On that day, we included a First Nations welcome, as we also celebrated Irish St. Patrick’s Day
and Persian New Year – in addition to Scottish Robbie Burns Day + Chinese Lunar New Year.

Our 2019 dinner will feature:
Scottish-Canadian & Chinese-Canadian authors and poets
Robert Burns poems and songs
something Irish, something Persian
our famous and popular deep-fried haggis wonton dumplings

Please stay tuned for more details

I thank you for your patience and understanding.
Thank you, Todd

Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy is back in action!

It’s been a challenging 4 years since I last posted. It feels like the world has shifted. I thank Allan Cho for posting from 2014 to 2016.

We regret to share that our mentor and dear friend Jim Wong-Chu passed away in July 2017. Jim was a co-founder and driving force of Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop, Ricepaper Magazine and LiterASIAN: Festival of Asian Canadian Writing. He made invaluable contributions to Asian Canadian literature as well as the development of Asian Heritage Month. Jim was a tremendous supporter of Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy, he encouraged me in its development, attended many taste-testings, and always brought Ricepaper Magazine to promote. While he can never be truly replaced, we will ensure that his memory lives on, his legacies recognized, and that new writers will continue to be inspired.

My father, William (Bill) Wong passed away in November 2015. He was my life-long teacher and inspiration. He was the proprietor of Hopp Signs Ltd. and painted many signs throughout Vancouver, and also especially Chinatown. He loved attending my Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinners, and supported me when I spoke at Terry Fox Community Runs throughout Metro Vancouver. His memory and values continue to inspire me, and I thank my many cousins, aunts & uncles, my grandmother, my brother, my niece and nephew, our friends, for sharing our love of my father.

And on Christmas night, 2016, I survived an aortic dissection. I had emergency cardiac surgery on Dec 26th. I was in the hospital for 10 days. I especially thank my girlfriend Deb Martin for her love and support, as well my cousins Gail Young Mofrad who accompanied me to the hospital, and Shelley Ferguson who also helped care for me at home. My friends in The Black Bear Rebels, and ACWW were also especially supportive.

But while this blog www.gunghaggis.com has not been posting, it has still been busy providing information to people. Allan and I have still been active in the community. Our events and activities have also been posted on www.asiancanadianwriters.ca, literasian.com and ricepapermagazine.ca, as well as our facebook pages. Allan is Executive Director of ACWW, and I am President. We thank our wonderful board members, volunteers and staff, for keeping these important cultural institutions, societies, and events ongoing and growing.

Historic Joy Kogawa House is now owned by City of Vancouver, continues to operate by Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, and the website is www.kogawahouse.com. I stepped down as president after 10 years, but remain on the board.

Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about the Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner for 2019.

Chinese Head Tax apology for BC is incomplete… and not acceptable from CCNC

  • The head tax infamy actually started in 1885, 129 years ago… and continued long after MP Margaret Mitchell first asked Canadian Parliament for redress in 1984 – four years before Japanese Canadians were given an apology and redress in 1988. The Chinese Canadian National Council, which has fought for a fair and honourable redress for decades, declined the BC government apology, because it failed to symbolically address many issues including: 1) “the Apology motion lacks basic sincerity” 2) “Only the affected head tax families can accept this Apology and allow the reconciliation process to begin” (not newer immigrants who are not head tax descendants) and 3) “that the that there should be a symbolic return of these funds to the head tax families”
    But the Chinese Canadian National Council – which has fought for redress for decades, and played a major role in the 2006 Federal Apology declines the motion of Apology offered by the BC Legislature today.

    The CCNC press release states:

    CCNC has supported the Head Tax Families Society of Canada in seeking an inclusive redress with the BC Government. The BC Government is well aware of the role of past BC political leaders in fomenting anti-Chinese racism including receiving a significant share of the head taxes collected. Last year, CCNC provided the BC Government and all MLAs with a schedule of the head tax levies transferred which totals $8.5 million, a sum with a present value of about $1 billion today. CCNC takes the view that there should be a symbolic return of these funds to the head tax families.

    Unfortunately, the Apology motion lacks this basic sincerity.

    “A government should never be seen to be profiting from racism but this is what has happened here today,” Victor Wong, CCNC Executive Director said today. “Only the affected head tax families can accept this Apology and allow the reconciliation process to begin.”

    “We urge all MLAs to reflect on our views and to expend the effort to offer a meaningful apology to the Chinese Canadian community.”

    Founded in 1980, CCNC is a national non-profit organization with 27 chapters across Canada and a community leader for Chinese Canadians in promoting a more just, respectful, and inclusive society.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/…/apolog…/9842654/story.html

    www.vancouversun.com

    The Province of British Columbia formally apologized to Chinese Canadians Thursday for historical wrongs and racism dating back to Confederation.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2014: celebrating Chinese & Scottish & First Nations on St. Patrick’s Day weekend with Persian New Year music

It was a wonderful event on March 16th.  We had created the first ever Vancouver Squeezebox accordion parade for the 10th Annual Celticfest St. Patrick’s Day parade, walking beside our 5 person Chinese parade dragon – then we zipped down to the Floata Chinese Restaurant to prepare and set up the 17th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

Here are some pictures and comments:

17th Annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner was one for the books. Welcome from Kwantlen Elder Natch and Musqueam Elder Larry Grant who spoke strong truth. Beautiful performances by Janet Rogers as a tribute to Pauline Johnson, Silk Road, Celtic accordionist Amy Stephen and her husband Amir Haghighi who sang a powerful and haunting Persian song. Thanks to Todd Wong and MCs Margaret and Patrick Gallagher for a great evening. – City councilor Andrea Reimer

Had such an awesome time at Gung Haggis Fat Choy last night… what a wonderful event created by Todd Wong! Great food, great company, tons of fun! – Amy Stephen

Another bonus from being at Gung Haggis Fat Choy was getting to meet Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher) from Night at the Museum! – Celtic Accordionist Amy Stephen

 

Wow! Thank you Todd Wong for inviting my father, Natch Antone and myself as two of several guests of honour and speakers to tonight’s celebration of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy- Robbie Burns, Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day Feast @ Floata Chinese Restaurant in Vancouver.  It was time well spent with AMAZING company!!!! – Brandon Gabriel

Thank you Brandon – It was an honour to have you and your father at our head table. You are part of our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team family, and now part of our GHFC Dinner Family. You and I share our connections to the Scottish, Chinese and First Nations roots of this province. We recognize the racism and divides that have caused strife and discrimination, and we recognize that love and understanding, and especially the sharing of these cultures, can help make BC a better place. – Todd Wong

I think that’s what I was trying to impart…lol. It was nice to be in a place where all those beautiful heritages can be as one. I honestly felt like I was at a family reunion…lol.  Such good for energy and spirits in the room. It was palpable. My dad came up to me today and said he will never forget that night, and neither will I. – Brendan Gabriel

Gung Haggis Fat FAMILY…. so many family connections. You and your Dad,.. with Larry Grant from Musqueam… I introduced you to my cousins Shelley and her son Dakota from Qayqayt… Our sibling co-hosts Margaret and Patrick Gallagher… Silk Road Music who are friends with my cousins on Hornby Island… accordionist Amy Stephen brought her husband Amir and don Youssef to perform with her… My bagpiper friends, who play with me in a Celtic Ceilidh group… We are all family… All my relations. All our relations. We are indeed ONE. – Todd Wong

Hoping the weather turns nice for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade tomorrow.  Here is our gang from last year holding up our parade dragon.

We have always had a Gung Haggis Fat Choy entry… in the annual Celticfest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  It was back at the 2004 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner that one of the organizers asked me to put together an entry.

“What kind of entry would you like?” I queried.

“Something multicultural…”

“How about a dragon boat?” I asked, without realizing how much work it would be.

For the next 3 years, I would arrange to put a Taiwanese dragon boat on a trailer, and borrow or rent a truck to haul the trailer…  and then one year… I had a flat tire on the trailer…

The next year, I was in Chinatown, and on an impulse… I bought a 5 person parade dragon.  So we have always had different kinds of dragons in the parade…. parade dragon… dragon puppets… even a dragon boat… This is an article from last year’s parade. http://www.gunghaggis.com/2013/03/20/6508/

Our group is entry number 64 of 74 entries.  We meet at the marshalling area on the West side of the Granville St. Bridge – close to mid-span.  We meet at 10am, Our car/float will be in place by 9:30am.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at 11am. It will follow the same route as in 2013, beginning on Howe and Davie, proceeding north along Howe to Georgia, and ending at Georgia & Granville Streets.

“Festival organizers estimate crowds exceeding 200,000 will line the route to cheer on 2000+ parade participants, which they anticipate will include award-winning pipe and drum bands, Celtic musicians, Scottish and Irish dancers, acrobats, stilt walkers, vintage cars, the Vancouver police motorcycle drill team and pipe band, fire and police dogs,  mounted horse drill teams, multi-cultural organizations and performers, local businesses, distinguished guests and many more.”  http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/parade.php