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. in almost all the food that we normally serve at a GHFC Banquet Dinner.
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)
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.
“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:
Chinese New Year and the Robbie Burns Day: Gung Haggis dinner brings cultures together
by Benjamin Yong
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
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
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 raffle prizes for tomorrow's dinner event:
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
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.
Toddish McWong and deep-fried haggis and turnip cake on Global Morning News tomorrow at 8:00am
I am bringing haggis and Chinese turnip cake to Global Morning news for some breakfast eats.
place in Desolation sound, and how the left over haggis has been used in
omelettes and hash the morning after.
Maybe we will try to get hosts Sophie Lui and Steve Darling into kilts.