Category Archives: 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner

Happy Robbie Burns Day: Gung Haggis Fat Choy raps haggis and deep-fries Robbie Burns

This year's dinner will be a mix of announced performers, traditional singalongs, surprise guests, documentary movie excerpts + sneak preview of a brand new Asian Canadian theatre play + lots of raffle prizes.

To recognize our 10th anniversary… we are trying to recreate the spontaneity of the very first dinner for 16 people back in 1998 – but with 400 guests.  For that dinner, each guest was asked to bring a song or a poem to share.  We will alternate singalongs, poetry reading, musical performance, movie excerpt, mini theatrical reading, along with a 10 course Chinese banquet dinner.

Please read below for descriptions of 2008 performers, and planned events.

Media Alert

January 25th, 2008

Gung Haggis Fat Choy!
Chinese-Scots-Canadians deep-fry Robbie Burns and lettuce rap the haggis.

10th Annual Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
features special guests and surprises… like the anticipation of
Vancouver councilor Raymond Louie wearing a kilt!  Mc Louie and McWong
will start off Robbie Burns Day by a joint appearance on Rock 101's Bro
Jake Show.

January 27th, 2008
5:00 reception, 6:00 dinner
Floata Seafood Restaurant
#400 – 180 Keefer St.
Vancouver Chinatown.

“This is shaping up to the best
Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner yet!” states bagpiper Joe McDonald, who has
piped in the haggis for 8 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners beginning in
2001.  Joe and organizer Todd Wong will be featured on CBC Newsworld's
6pm tv broadcast to the nation on January 25th, when they will perform
a short rap version Robbie Burns' immortal poem – Address to a Haggis.  McDonald and his cross-cultural fusion band Brave Waves provide a sonic setting for many of the evening's singalongs.

Bagpiper Joe McDonald tries on the Chinese Lion head mask for Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2008 – photo Jaime Griffiths.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is a dinner like no other. 
Jam-packed with cross-cultural references to the Scottish and Chinese
pioneer history of British Columbia, it feeds its audience a
cultural-fusion cuisine of deep-fried haggis wun tun and lettuce wrap
in a 10 course Chinese banquet.  It looks forward to the future of
Chinese-Scottish-Canadian mixed DNA, and present-time Hapa-Canadian
culture of mixed ethnicity.

Vancouver poet Laureate George McWhirter
has written a special poem for the event.  He unveiled it at the
Tuesday night rehearsal dinner to a very pleased private audience.

Vancouver Poet Laureate George McWhirter with Todd Wong at the 2007 BC Book Prize Soiree – photo Deb Martin

Blackthorn, the celtic music band, is
really looking forward to the cultural fusion mix that Gung Haggis Fat
Choy.  Vocalist/flautist Michelle Carlisle really loved the
taste-testing dinner and played a duet of Loch Lomand with host Todd
Wong on his accordion, for Shaw TV's The Express with Sukhi Ghuman.

Blackthorn photo

Blackthorn's Rosie, Michelle, and Dianne with Tim and Michael (sitting)

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam by film maker Ann Marie Fleming
features a cinematic retelling about her great great grandfather
magician.  Fleming is a new board member for Asian Canadian Writers'
Workshop – a recipient for this increasingly famous fundraiser dinner.


Generations: The Chan Legacy
is a CBC documentary – which features Todd Wong and his Gung Haggis Fat
Choy creation.  Wong is a 5th generation descendant of Rev. Chan Yu Tan
who arrived in Canada in 1896.

Catherine Barr,
media columnist is going to introduce a Burns dinner tradition never
before presented at a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.  Watch out for a
Toast to the Lassies and Rebuttal, like you've never seen or heard
before.  Definitely YouTube worthy.

A sneak preview of The Quickie,
a new play by emerging playwright Grace Chin.  Burns so loved the
ladies.  But do Asian ladies prefer Chinese guys or White guys?

Poetry by Robbie Burns and Chinese Canadian poets

of traditional and culturally-tweaked familiar songs, such as “When
Asian Eyes Are Smiling”, and “My Haggis Lies Over the Ocean, My Chow
Mein Lies Over the Sea.”

+ Raffle Prizes and Auction Prizes

event is a fundraiser for Historic Joy Kogawa House, Asian Canadian
Writers' Workshop / Ricepaper Magazine, and Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon
boat team.

For more information
Call Todd Wong
h: 604-987-7124
c: 778-846-7090

Here are the latest media appearance and stories about Gung Haggis Fat Choy:

Friday January 25
Bro Jake Show
Classic Rock 101 FM
with Vancouver City councilor Raymond Louie – some time between 7:30am and 8:45am

Friday January 25
The Express on SHAW TV – channel 4
Interviews and footage from the taste-testing rehearsal
at 10am, 11am, 11:30am, 2pm, 3pm

January 25
CBC News World 12:45pm PST

CBC TV 26 – Todd Wong interview + Haggis Rap by Todd & Joe McDonald

Georgia Straight – Straight Choices – Jan 24
King of Culture – page 19

Vancouver Sun – January 23
On the burner
Mia Stainsby,
Gung Haggis Fat Choy: This Scottish-Chinese-Canadian tri-brid event celebrates its 10th year

Georgia Straight – Blog  – Jan 16
I will wear a kilt to Robbie Burns dinner, Coun. Raymond McLouie

Vancouver councilor “Raymond McLouie” to appear in kilt at Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Raymond Louie will be kilted for Gung Haggis Fat Choy

News Flash…
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

By Matthew Burrows

Few people have seen perennially-spiffy Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie in anything other than his fine line of light summer suits.

That is set to change at the upcoming 10th anniversary celebration of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, where the two-term Vision Vancouver councillor has promised to wear a kilt. Gung Haggis organizer Todd Wong (a.k.a. Toddish McWong) told the Georgia Straight
he wanted to “see Raymond Louie in a kilt” for event, which marks
Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day with a blend of Chinese and
Scottish traditions.

“I’m looking to the last 10
years and looking to some of the best stories and performances and am
trying to capture that flavour and trying to bring that through,” Wong
said. “I have been trying for years to get Coun. Raymond Louie in a
kilt. Wouldn’t it be fun to see him in a kilt? He can wear the
Vancouver tartan. Raymond has just e-mailed me and has asked to be
seated at the Vision Vancouver clan table for the dinner on Sunday
[January 27].”

Louie confirmed he will be at the event, called the Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, at the Floata Seafood Restaurant (400–180 Keefer Street), adding: “I will wear a kilt.”

The Straight
pointed out that Louie is rarely seen in anything but a suit. Louie
moshed to D.O.A.’s anthem “General Strike” during a fundraiser for
mayoral candidate Jim Green at the Lamplighter in 2005. But he had his suit on at the time.

Only at a Bike Month breakfast at Granville Square in June 2007 did Louie opt in favour of his favourite racing-bike attire.

“That leaves it open though,” Louie quipped about the upcoming dinner. “I could still wear a shirt and tie up top.”

Louie did not reveal where he would acquire a kilt and what would be worn underneath.

also a librarian, has a dizzying array of entertainment planned for the
Gung Haggis Fat Choy event. He said it was “excellent” that Louie was
going for the kilt look.


Gung Haggis Fat Choy media attention is heating up: Vancouver Sun 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:

ON THE BURNER – by Mia Stainsby

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.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy with Sukhi Ghuman on Shaw TV's The Express

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.”


Watch Shaw

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.

Sukhi writes:

Hi Todd,
Zac and I had a wonderful evening being a part of your rehearsal
dinner. Thank you for inviting us. The story will air tonight at 6pm
8pm, 10pm 12am and Friday at 10am, 11am 2pm, and 3pm.
Thank you,
Sukhi Ghuman
Reporter Shaw TV

Gung Haggis Fat Choy taste-testing rehearsal a success at Floata!

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!

Toddish McWong appearances for Robbie Burns week – January 23rd to Jan 28th

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.

Special event
January 23
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.
address TBA

January 25th
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

January 27th
Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

Floata Restaurant
#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
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…

2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy menu announced: now with Mongolian Beef to celebrate Year of the Rat

Menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy™:
Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

– Anticipating the Year of the Rat!

What:     Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ Dinner
When:    January 27, 2008 – Sunday
Time:     Reception 5:30 pm – with Dim Sum appetizers
                Dinner 6:00 pm
Tickets:  $64.50 adult, $54.00 student, $43.50 children 13 & under
Purchase online

Additional $2.50 per ticket for phone orders

Call Gung Haggis Fat Choy Productions at 604-987-7124 by January 21 to reserve a table for 10 for $600

selections are not a real “traditional” Chinese New Year dinner menu –
but a blending of favorites, and brand new fusion-fare.  It is created
to help introduce “real Chinese banquet fare” to Scottish-Canadians and
to help make “haggis” safe for Chinese-Canadians.  And if you are
Ukranian-Italian-Japanese-First Nations… that's alright too!

Here is the menu for 2008, subject to change at my whimsy and the kitchen's demands:

Haggis Dim Sum Appetizer buffet
This will be available upon people's arrival soon after the reception starts after 5:30pm
The restaurant will have the bar open for 5:30pm
We have moved the dinner location to the South side of the restaurant so we can use the BIG bar.

1a –  Deep fried Haggis Wun Tun
Wun Tun was first created in September 2003 when I walked into New Town
Restaurant in Chinatown with a Haggis from Peter Black's and asked them
to make won tons for me to take to the CBC Radio reception to welcome
Shelagh Rogers and “Sounds Like Canada” to Vancouver.  She said that “the haggis wun tun and special plum sauce goes together like Bogart and Bacall.” It's been a
favorite ever since. 

We ask the restaurant to mix the haggis with
water chestnuts to make it crunchy – yum yum!  Even the Scottish Studies coordinator from Simon Fraser University, Harry McGrath, has said it is “surprisingly good!”

1b   Haggis Su-Mei (Pork Dumplings)
Pork Dumplings (Su-Mei) are classic
cantonese dim sum, and we are adding haggis for great taste!  Somehow the haggis and the pork seem to go very well!

1c Haw-Gow (Shrimp Dumplings)
non-haggis dim sum… one of my favorites!  tasty morsels of shrimp wrapped in rice noodle wrapping.

1d  Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Because we knew there would be people who wouldn't want Haggis or meat their Vegetarian spring rolls.

2 – Hot & Sour Soup
a favorite for everybody – and vegetarian to boot!  Warms up the
innards on a cold January night.  I am sure Burns would approve.

3 – Ginger Dungeness Crab
West Coast equivalent to Nova Scotia Lobster and better tasting too!
Flavoured with Ginger, it's always been one of my favorites.  The best
way to eat crab is to have somebody else crack it and de-shell it for
you.  If your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend won't do this –
invite somebody else.

4 – Buddhist's Feast
A traditional New Year dish – with rice vermicelli noodles and lots of vegetables and lotus root.  All the good things that every vegetarian loves.  The Chinese calendar is based on the 12 animals that came when Buddha called.  Feb 7th starts a new 12 year cycle that begins with the Year of the Rat – the first animal to see Buddha.  I was born in the Year of the Rat.

5  – Haggis
can't have a Robbie Burns Supper without Haggis… We serve the best
haggis that I have found.  It comes from the Highlands of West
Vancouver… or rather the Lowlands of West Vancouver's Park Royal,
from Peter Black & Sons. 
haggis is like a nice liver pate.  It is not too oaty, and it has many
nice spices.  Try it with sweet & sour sauce.  But the Plum sauce
is best. 

6  Lettuce Wrap
serve a vegetarian lettuce wrap.  We had so many vegetarians who
lamented that they couldn't eat the duck or the pork or the beef
lettuce wrap… so now it is a vegetarian lettuce wrap.  Very tasty. 

encourage people to combine Haggis with the lettuce wrap…. Take a
large spoonful of haggis, plunk it on a lettuce leaf, add the
vegetarian filling, smother it with Hoi-Sin Chinese plum sauce, and
it's great.  People really like it.  Before we invented the haggis
lettuce wrap, there was always plenty of haggis left over.  But now…
everybody eats it up.  We blame it on the lettuce wrap.

7 – Mongolian Beef
At one time the Mongolian empire was the largest contiguous empire in human history reaching  into what is now Modern Poland by 1279.  That's almost 90% of the distance from Beijing to Edinburgh!  Mongolian beef is one of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team's favorite Tuesday night dishes after a hard paddle practice.

8 – Deep Fried Shrimp balls with fruit salad.
It's traditional to have a fish dish because the Chinese word for fish sounds like the Chinese word for money… But we are substituting this wonderful Floata Restaurant specialty.  The shrimpballs are lightly
deep-fried to a nice light crunch.  The salad is melons with a
mayonaise sauce… very much Hong Kong style.  While, not one of the
Chinese-Canadian dishes that I grew up with, but the Chinese members on
our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team really like it, and they
assure me that it is a traditional style food dish for Chinese New Year.

9 –  Special Long Life E-Fu Noodles
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!

10 – Dessert 
The return of Mango Pudding.  My girlfriend was happy to see this back on the menu after years of traditional Chinese New Year pastries.   One of the top selling gelato ice creams at Casa Gelato is Death by Mango.  We will definitely NOT have blood pudding – Go ye to a
Scottish resturant for that stuff

Hope you enjoyed these delicious descriptions…

year we are challenged by the logistics of serving 350 to 450 people at
the same time, in coordination with a fantastic musical and literary
show.  Every year we try to improve on the presentation and the
execution of our event, while making it fresh with adjustments to both
the menu and the performance schedule.

reception starts promptly at 5:30pm.and the dim sum appetizers will be
available because we know people will be hungry.  The restaurant assures us that the bar will be open at 5:30pm and we have moved the event to the south side of the restaurant to utilize the large bar, and to be closer to the kitchen.

of course… the entire program and menu is subject to change.  We do
our best to create a fabulous meal and evening of entertainment.  And
the best way is to be sensitive to the audience, the performers, spontaneous to great ideas, and
meeting any challenges that come our way.

I look forward to sharing the surprises and joys of Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ 2008 with you!


Great new musical, literary and theatrical raffle prizes for Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner

Our Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner always has raffle prizes to further help raise funds for Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, Historic Joy Kogawa House and Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  We try to find prizes that reflect our themes of BC's Chinese-Canadian and Scottish-Canadian history and culture.  In particular we try to help promote Asian-Canadian arts and culture.

The dinner actually costs quite a bit to put on, plus additional production costs including sound technician and additional equipment plus publicity and posters.  We hope that our guests will further help us raise funds for our very worthy organizations, by purchasing lots of raffle tickets!

For our 2008 dinner on January 27th, some of the prizes so far include:

From Harbour Publishing:

The Trail of 1858: British Columbia's Gold Rush Past  – by Mark Forsythe & Greg Dickson


The BC Almanac Book of Greatest British Columbians: – by Mark Forsythe & Greg Dickson

Forage – by Rita Wong

Abby's Birds
From Tradewind
Abby's Birds – illustrated by my friend Sima Elizabeth Shefrin

From Arsenal Pulp Press

Swallowing Clouds, edited by Andy
Quan & Jim Wong-Chu (This poetry collection is one of my favorites – it contains the Jim Wong-Chu poem “Recipe for Tea” which tells the story of how tea was originally introduced to Scotland from Southern China by traders.)
When Fox is a Thousand, by Larissa
Lai (Another favorite – I love Foxes)

Hopeful Monsters, by Hiromi
Goto (Hiromi is now the Writer-in-Residence at the Vancouver Public Library)
Kuroshio: The Blood of Foxes, by
Terry Watada
Soucouyant, by David
Vancouver Art & Economies, ed by
Melanie O'Brien

From Vancouver Opera
2 tickets to Italian Girl in Algiers
2 tickets to Voices of the Pacific Rim

2 tickets for Banana Boys

From TF Productions
2 tickets for The Quickie – the follow up theatrical production from the “Twisting Fortunes” team

Things are getting exciting with Gung Haggis Fat Choy…

10 more days until Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Dinner.

Yesterday and today, I received calls from Matt Burrows from the Georgia Straight asking what was happening for the 10th Anniversary celebrations for Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  We have celtic band Blackthorn, Vancouver poet laureate George McWhirter, our house band Joe McDonald and Brave Waves + an sneak peak excerpt from Grace Chin's new theatre play.

“Sorry, I can't tell you anything more because everything else is going to be a surprise,” I told Burrows.  “I am looking at some of the best memories, performances and elements over the past 10 years and trying to find a way to make the dinner have the same remarkable spontaneity that the first dinner of 16 guests had, but now with 400 guests. 

As usual we will be having people reading Burns Poetry, reading Asian Canadian poetry… and we will have members of our audience come up on stage to read.  It's always important for me to find a way to recognize both the
Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian history and culture of our city
and province.

It's always exciting seeing who will be in our audience.  By introducing celebrity people and community leaders in our audience, it always makes the dinner feel more intimate and friendly.  This is one of the secrets that has made Gung Haggis Fat Choy such a cherished must-attend event for so many Vancouverites.  After singing a chorus of “When Asian Eyes Are Smiling” or “My Haggis Lies Over the Ocean,” you have 9 brand new best friends at your dinner table… and 400 new friends surrounding you…. all singing Auld Lang Syne in Mandarin!

At that first dinner, we had no idea what was happening… we had a list of things that were supposed to happen at a traditional Robbie Burns dinner.  I cooked most of the Chinese dishes, and other people brought or cooked some more of the dishes.  But as the dinner grew to 40 people, then 100, then 200, then 400 and up to 590, it has always struggled with losing the original intimacies of the first dinners, while taking advantage of the opportunities for better performances and better sound/video technology as the dinner grew to larger venues.

“We are going to be showing clips from the CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy which features some of the history of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, including being interviewed by Peter Mansbridge from The National, and also the CBC Vancouver TV special,” I shared with Burrows.  “After all, how many times does a Burns dinner get to spin off a TV special… it's been pretty incredible!”

All the haggis is now ordered from Peter Black & Sons in West Vancouver's Park Royal.  It's very fitting, since the first dinner of 16 guests took place in a North Vancouver town house.  The haggis will soon be delivered to Floata Restaurant where they will make hundreds of deep-fried wun tun appetizers, as part of our haggis dim sum appetizer buffet that will greet guests on their arrival at 5:30pm

Tickets Tonight is handling all single ticket orders, while I take reserved tables of 10.  There are many organizations and individuals reserving tables.  These will all be announced during the “Calling of the Clans.”
Single ticket holders will all be assigned seating at “General Admission” tables in the order that they bought their tickets.  Reserved tables of 10 will have the “Clan Names” place on the tables.

Our host organizations Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, Historic Joy Kogawa House Society and the Gung Hagggis Fat Choy dragon boat team will each receive a portion of funds raised from the dinner, as well as provide volunteers for the event.

Raffle prizes are looking very good.  Each year I talk with organizations that contribute to the intercultural nature of our arts community. 

Banana Boys theatre – 2 tickets from Firehall Arts Centre
Italian Girl In Algiers – 2 tickets from Vancouver Opera
Voices of the Pacific Rim – 2 tickets from Vancouver Opera
The Quickie – 2 tickets from TF Productions
Book gift pack from Arsenal Pulp Press
Book gift pack from Harbour Publishing
and many more prizes…

So… everything is now set up.  Media interviews are happening.  Last week I was interviewed on Co-Op Radio by Rowan on Accordion Noir.  This friday I am being interviewed by Eric Model for this radio and podcast for his Conversations on the Road show where he travels all across North America interviewing interesting people and stories.

Hmmm… what's next.  Read Thursday's Georgia Straight to find the latest work in dress attire for Gung Haggis Fat Choy… and who will be wearing a kilt to the dinner.

The Quickie – New Asian Canadian play sneak preview excerpt featured at 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event

Another Gung Haggis Fat Choy exclusive!!!

TF Productions' playwright Grace Chin is back with another “set in Vancouver” play that resonates sexual and racial intercultural politics and social customs.   Last year  Grace and her writing partner Charlie Cho previewed their first play Twisting Fortunes at the 2007 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner which I reviewed Twisting Fortunes is just like “real dating.

time the writing is all Grace… and she will be performing a sneak
preview excerpt onstage with fellow actor Emily Chow, as characters
Susan Fan and Regina Cho.

What do women really want?  Did Robbie Burns have the answer?  We know that Robbie Burns LOVED the fair sex and wrote many many poems dedicated to them – the most famous being “My Luv is Like a Red Red Rose.”  But does a rose smell as sweet whether it is red, or white, or yellow?  And what about men and women…. do they smell as sweet whether they are white or yellow? 

Check out this spicy excerpt that will be presented January 27th at the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy : Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

Can you really know someone in five minutes? And is speed
dating a shortcut to happiness, or a slippery slope to heartache? TF
Productions, the team that brought the city its first “accidentally
Asian” romantic dramedy, Twisting Fortunes—which played to a sold-out
house at the Playwrights Theatre Centre on Granville Island last
year—presents The Quickie, a Vancouver-based, contemporary romantic
comedy that rips a strip out of speed dating, making whoopee, and
cultural collision. In all the wrong places.

The Quickie is directed by Ross Bragg (Producer, CBC) with
lighting design by Darren Boquist (Walking Fish Festival) from a script
by Grace Chin (Event Producer, Scripting Aloud), one half of the TF
Productions writing/producing team that includes Charlie Cho (Associate
Producer, CBC). TF Productions is grateful to receive in-kind support
from the CBC, Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT) and Scripting
Aloud. “A 'quickie' can mean a lot of things. This is a fun play about
dating in Vancouver, but it's not only about sex; it's about how
readily we judge people before we know who they are, about love at
first sight,” says Bragg.

In this take-out love story, Richard “The Rich” Gupta (Raahul
Singh) wants everything, while his buddy Darryl Chu (Alex Chu) just
wants the right woman. Susan Fan (Grace Chin) is willing to settle for
a man she can put up with, while her best friend Regina Cho (Emily
Chow) won't settle at all. The four meet their matches quickly enough
at the same speed dating event, yet find the follow-through far from
tidy. An amorous woman (Allison Riley), a party girl (Kit Koon), a
pretty boy (Phil Gurney) and a toothsome dentist (Victor Khong) further
complicate the “girl meets boy” dynamic.

Quickie is the second theatrical production, after 2007's Twisting
Fortunes, to be staged after being workshopped at Scripting Aloud, a
monthly pan-Asian Canadian scriptreading series active since 2005. A
short excerpt from The Quickie will be read live at the Tenth
Anniversary Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event on January 27, 2008 at
Floata Chinese Restaurant, 400-180 Keefer Street, downtown Vancouver.

Thurs. Feb. 7, Fri. Feb. 8, Sat. Feb. 9, 8 p.m.
Sun. Feb. 10, 2 p.m.
Fri. Feb. 15, Sat. Feb. 16, 8 p.m.
Venue: Playwrights Theatre Centre
(1398 Cartwright Street), Granville Island
Tickets: $15 at the door, $13 online via PayPal at

Charlie Cho
Co-Producer, TF Productions