Category Archives: Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner

Gung Haggis dim sum taste-testing a success!

Gung Haggis dim sum taste-testing a success!

Here's a picture from our haggis won ton and springrolls from 2005, picture from 2007 will be available soon! – photo Todd Wong

We taste-tested the world's first haggis dim sum tonight.  
Floata served (to our specifications) deep-fried haggis won-ton, haggis
har gau (shrimp dumplings), haggis su mei (pork dumplings) + vegetarian
spring rolls.

The haggis shrimp dumplings was the best.  Very tasty… there
were positive compliments right away.  Haggis pork dumplings were
good too.  Har gau shrimp dumplings and su mei pork dumplings are
classic cantonese dim sum items.  They are not overwhelmed by the
addition of the haggis.  We asked the restaurant chefs not to put
too much haggis in – just enough to give it the taste.  People
will like these new additions to our culinary menu.

“Dim Sum” actually translates to “touch the heart” or “pieces of
heart”- meaning wonderful little morsels of food that are endearing to
the heart.  Even though traditional haggis is made from the heart,
liver of a sheep – this is all very coincidental that it should be
fused together for Gung Haggis Won Ton.

Unfortunately, it was a new chef and he didn't get the instructions to
make the haggis won ton with our secret ingredient of water
chestnuts.  This makes the item crunchy.  This will be fixed
for the January 28th dinner.

And the rest of the dinner was very good.  We had vegetarian Hot
and Sour Soup.  Shrimp balls with fruit salad, Ginger crab,
mushrooms + tofu + fresh vegetables, sticky rice with taro and chicken,
vegetarian lettuce wrap, traditional haggis (which we encourage
everybody to add to their lettuce wrap),  and pastry
We have trimmed our menu from a 10 course dinner to a 8 course dinner
because…. everybody at the past dinners said there was TOO MUCH food,
and the number 8 is a very lucky number in Chinese culture. 
And… we have also improved the quality of the food.  The Ginger
crab, shrimp balls, and sticky rice are traditional banquet food items.

For the first time, we invited our performers to the pre-event
taste-testing, and we invited our Gung Haggis Fat Choy event volunteer
coordinators from the GHFC dragon boat team.  Past dinners were
small and included GHFC dinner event coordinators + a food writer/
author such as Roland Tanglao ( or Tim Pawsey (The Courier)
or author/chef Steven Wong.  Usually, we are so busy with the
performances and so overwhelmed by the large crowd, we don't get to
relax and enjoy ourselves.  But we did tonight.  We explained
that this was like the very first (now legendary) Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinner back in 1998 when we first served haggis with a Chinese New Year
dinner, and between each dinner course, somebody had to get up to read a poem, sing a song, or play some music.

During the course of our dinner, we sang Loch Lomand, performed the
Burns poem “Address to the Haggis,” Silk Road Music performed a
traditional “Happy Song,” then led a singalong of the famous Chinese song “Mo Li Hua (Jasmine
Flower)”.  We discussed the traditions of both Burns Suppers, and
the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners.   We also played the video
of the CBC Gung Haggis Fat Choy tv special.  We yelled out
whenever we recognized somebody on the screen that was sitting with us
at the dinner table.  “There's Deb!”  “There's
Todd!”   “Here's Silk Road with Qiu Xia and Andre!” 
“There's Joe McDonald with Brave Waves.”

It was a special dinner with all good friends from the Gung Haggis
dragon boat team, and our performers for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinner event.  We discussed the intercultural points of music,
literature and culture.  This was also a good way to indoctrinate
some of our rookie GHFC paddlers and rookie performers such as Leora
Cashe into our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner traditions.  And to
the night, we all sang Auld Lang Syne – standing and holding hands.

We look forward to the January 28th dinner, knowing the entertainment
is going to be great, and knowing the food is going to be even better!

CKNW radio interview for Gung Haggis Fat Choy

CKNW radio interview for Gung Haggis Fat Choy

I just did a radio interview with CKNW AM 980 reporter Nafessa Karim.

Nafeesa was really interested in
learning how Gung Haggis Fat Choy began as a small dinner with friends,
and is growing into a festival. 

“It's all about community,” I told
her.  “The Gung Haggis concept resonates with people, and they
want to be a part of it.  In 2004, we paired up with World Poetry
Night at Vancouver Public Library, to create an event that celebrates
the poetry of Robbie Burns, the traditions of Chinese New Year, plus
sharing the work of contemporary Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian
poets.  We add in some bapipes and singalongs and everybody has

“So now we are celebrating the 4th
annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night at the Vancouver Public
Library, 7:30pm on Monday, January 15th.

“In 2005, SFU Recreation department
approached me to help create a way to celebrate SFU's Scottish heritage
with the large Asian student population.  We came up with SFU Gung
Haggis Fat Choy Canadian Games, drawing on the idea of “Highland Games”
but with a Monty Pythonesque twist.  There will be “dragon cart”
races, “human curling,” and a haggis eating event.”

Nafeesa asked if there was something special that led to the pairing of Scottish and Chinese events together.

“Canada,” I answered.  The Scots
came from across the Atlantic, and the Chinese came from across the
Pacific.  They met in the middle, in this land called
Canada.  At first they had their differences, their clashes, but
they came around, started inter-marrying and having babies.  And
that is where we are today.

To find out exactly what I said, and what time allows Nareesa to edit into the story.  Listen to CKNW 980 AM starting
late tonight or early tomorrow morning.  Hopefully it will be a
slow news day… and more of Gung Haggis Fat Choy will be shared with
the CKNW listeners.

2007 GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY press release January 12

Here is my latest press release for Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2007

January 12, 2007 – for immediate release –

Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Toddish McWong's 10th Annual Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner Spectacular

January 28th, Sunday,
5:30pm reception and appetizers
6:30 dinner

Floata Restaurant
#400 – 180 Keefer Street

Ever had Haggis Dim Sum appetizers?
Expect the Unexpected!

surprises await… the world's first haggis dim sum appetizer buffet will
greet arriving guests.  Imagine haggis shrimp dumplings, haggis spring
rolls, haggis-stuffed tofu??? in addition to the now famous haggis won

along to “Scotland the Brave,” and Burns' perennial favorite, “Auld
Lang Syne;” and the culturally fused “My Chow Mein Lies Over the
Ocean,” and “When Asian Eyes Are Smiling,” plus many more surprises!

Featured performers for 2007 include:

Silk Road Music, World fusion music
Heather Pawsey, Opera Soprano
Brave Waves – Bagpipes and tabla musical fusion band,
Leora Cashe – Jazz gospel singer
No Luck Club – Instrumental Hip Hop
Dr. Ian Mason – Burns Club of Vancouver
Lensey Namioka – Author “Half and Half”
Margaret Gallagher – Writer “All Mixed Up” anthology
“Twisting Fortunes” – sneak preview of play

Co-hosted by Priya Ramu (CBC Radio) and Todd Wong

Haggis Fat Choy does more than mix East and West. It blends them
together and turns them upside down and shakes them out sideways. It
highlights Canada's Scottish and Chinese heritage and pioneers. It
breaks down barriers and is an impressive forum for the emerging
intercultural Canada where everybody can claim and celebrate Chinese
and Scottish culture and everything in-between.

great cultural fusion music between East and West, as Scots musicians
play Chinese music and Chinese musicians play Scottish music…

and everything in between and beyond!

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is growing into a Festival with 4 related events

Haggis Fat Choy started out as a small fundraiser of 16 people in 1998
in a crowded living room.  Ten years later it serves 500 people 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.

is the “Little Dinner that Could” which is now growing into a
festival!  Creator Todd Wong has been interviewed by BBC Radio
Scotland, plus local and national media.

it is a major fundraiser event for Gung Haggis Dragon Boat team, Asian
Canadian Writers' Workshop, and Kogawa House Committee – helping to
create positive examples of inter-culturalism in our community!

January 15th, 2007. Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night
Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia St., Vancouver
– featuring bagpipes, Scottish born Chinese-Canadian poet Fiona Tinwei
Lam, Dr. Ian Mason (Burns Club of Vancouver), Leon Yang, Shelly
Haggard, Joe McDonald and Bagpipes + singalongs.

January 21st, 2007. Haggis and Rice – Cric Crac
presented by Vancouver Society of Storytelling
Hodson Manor, 12254 West 7th Ave. Vancouver, 
Todd Wong will read poetry + tell stories

January 25th, 2007. SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Canadian Games
SFU Convocation Mall, Burnaby Campus
– Look for Dragon Cart racing, Haggis eating contest + World's first human curling event.

January 28th, 2007
Catch the infamous Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

Tickets now available at Firehall Arts Centre

Call Monday to Frieday – 9am – 5pm

Early bird tix available until January 21 $60 adult,  $70 for premium seats.
Children 13 and under 50% off.
After January 21st – prices go up to $70/$80

Book a table of 10 and receive a gift basket (value $50)

For more information contact
Todd Wong
Phone: 778-846-7090

2007 Menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy

2007 Menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy

I've always liked watching Monty Python.  And it was great to see the CBC tv special Gung Haggis Fat Choy take on a Monty Pythonesque animated sequence when telling the history of Robert Burns.  This will be part of the program on January 28th, as we will show excerpts from teh CBC tv special.

As for the dinner menu… we will NOT be serving SPAM. 
But look for plenty of haggis…

Haggis won-ton, bagpipes, Silk Road Music, Robbie Burns poetry,  Haggis dim sum, Heather Pawsey opera soprano, Chinese banquet food, Haggis lettuce wrap, Leora Cashe jazz & gospel, Scottish singalongs, Haggis spring rolls, lots of surprises, traditional haggis, co-hosted by Priya Ramu (CBC Radio On The Coast) and Todd Wong himself and more haggis… .

for all the non-haggis lovers there will be:
lots of vegetarian food…
tofu appetizers, deep-fried tofu, tofu with vegetables, tofu hot pot, tofu with taro, tofu-stuffed haggis, and tofu pudding…

If you don't believe me, check out last year's dinner menu
Scottish Canadian and Chinese Canadian culture 10 course Chinese banguet dinner

I am presently working on upgrading the menu from last year – there will be crab, chicken, haggis and tofu… but not so much tofu…

Gung Haggis Fat Choy update for January 10th

Gung Haggis Fat Choy update for January 10th

What's happening with Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2007?

Just confirmed today…  Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan is attending.  This will be the second time he has attended as Mayor, in addition to two previous times as a city concillor.  Mayor Sullivan definitely has Scottish ancestry… and he's learned to speak Chinese

Haggis is ordered.  I really like haggis from Peter Black and Sons, from Park Royal South, in West Vancouver.  I have used it every year since 2002.  When I don't use it, there's usually complaints.  This is a nice spicy family secret recipe.  I have never “gagged” on a Peter Black haggis, as I have on other haggis.  Peter and family attended last year and had a great time.  Peter even gave the Selkirk Grace.

Erin Cebula of Global TV, called me on Monday – she's going to do a story about the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event.  Look for her and a television cameraperson at the Vancouver Public Library on January 15th, when I host Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night with Ariadne Sawyer as part of the World Poetry Series.

Jazz-gospel singer Leora Cashe is really really excited about performing for GHFC – we talked on Sunday.  Leora wants me to perform accordion with her for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner – an old Scottish song that her Scottish uncle used to sing and perform on accordion – “My Luv Is Like a Red Red Rose.”  Leora is also really excited about helping to lead the singalongs for the dinner, such as “Loch Lomand (You Take the High Road)” and others…

And the dinner menu???
This year we are having something very special – Haggis Dim Sum appetizers.
I am talking with Floata Restaurant and trying to haggisize some of my favorite dim sum foods such as Hah-Gau shrimp dumplings.  I think my mother will be upset… shrimp dumplings are one of her favorites too!

Crab is definitely on the menu…  and lots of other good foods.  Look for an improved menu from last year's dinner.

What to expect at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2007 Dinner

What to expect at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2007 Dinner

The Arrival

Arrive Early:  The doors will open by
5:15 pm. All seating is reserved, and all tables are placed in the
order that they were ordered (except for special circumstances such as
a major sponsor hint hint).  We find this is the most fair, and it
encourages people to buy their tickets earlier to ensure a table closer
to the stage.  We expect a rush just prior to the posted 5:30pm
time.  This is the time to go to the bar and get your dram of
Glenfiddich or pint of McEwan's Lager – specially ordered for tonight's
dinner.  Ohhh…. but we might be having a special sponsor for drinks.  We're working on it.

The premium
tables will have two bottles of wine on each table.  This is the
reward for purchasing tables closer to the stage and paying $10 more
each.  This also means that you don't have to stand in line for your first drink.

Buy Your Raffle Tickets:
We have some great door
and raffle prizes lined up.  Lots of books (being the writers we
are), gift certificates and theatre tickets + other surprises.

Please buy
raffle tickets… this is how we generate our fundraising.  We
purposely keep our admission costs low to $60 for advance regular seats
so that they are affordable and the dinner can be attended by more
people.  Children's tickets are subsidized so that we can include
them in the audience and be an inclusive family for the evening.

This dinner is the primary fundraising event for
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team.  Since 2001, we have also given funds to Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, publishers of RicePaper Magazine.
The Gung Haggis team continues to promote multiculturalism through
dragon boat paddling events, and puts a dragon boat float each year in
the Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade.  Rice Paper Magazine
highlights creative Asian Canadians – especially in the arts and

Last year, we added the Save Kogawa House committee as a beneficiary for the event, because I felt it was
important to save Joy Kogawa's childhood home from demolition.  I
have been working on the committee, and I am pleased that The Land
has stepped in to partner with us to save Kogawa House

and turn it into a National literary landmark and treasure for all
Canadians.  Now that the house is saved, more money is still
needed to restore it to the 1942 qualities when Joy and her family were
forced to leave it, as well as create an endowment for future

Please support our missions of supporting and developing emerging writers,
organizing reading events, and to spread multiculturalism through
dragon boat racing – or come join our teams!


This year haggis dim sum appetizers will
be on a long buffet table – available at 5:30 pm.  This is going
to be culinarily exciting.  We have featured deep-fried haggis won
ton since 2004.  In 2005 we introduced haggis spring rolls. 
On City Cooks with host Simi Sara, we also introduced haggis stuffed tofu. 

6:30 pm Dinner event begins. People
are seated, and the Piping in of the musicians and
hosts begins.  We will lead a singalong of Scotland the Brave and give
a good welcome to our guests, only then will the dinner courses
appear.  You want to eat, you have to sing for your supper! (which should appear by 6:45 pm).

From then on… a new dish will appear every 10 to 15 minutes –
quickly followed by one of our co-hosts introducing a poet or musical
performer.  Serving 50 tables within 5 minutes, might not work
completely, so please be patient.  We will encourage our guests
and especially the waiters to be quiet while the performers are on stage.
Then for the 5 minute intermissions, everybody can talk and make noise
before they have to be quiet for the performers again.

This year's
dinner show will emphasize the show over the dinner.  In past
years, we have always tried to alternate food dishes with
performances.  But with the high quality of artists, we need to
highlight them… so this year… the show takes priority!

The Performances

Expect the unexpected: I
don't want to give anything away right now as I
prefer the evening to unfold with a sense of surprise and
wonderment.  But let it be known that we have an incredible
array of talent for the evening.

Ramu, CBC Radio host for “On The Coast” will be co-host with me for the
evening.  We have already created a mini-kilt for Priya and she is
looking forward to the event.

We welcome the return of Silk Road Music and Heather Pawsey to the Gung Haggis program.  Qiu
Xia and Andre bring their musical fusion performed on pipa and
classical guitar.  Opera soprano Heather Pawsey will perform in
Mandarin and a special suprise…

McDonald and his celtic-fusion band Brave Waves is again our “house
band.” We always delight in having Joe and his bagpipes.  This
year Joe and the band will deliver a Canadian surprise with a
multicultural twist.

Lensey Namioka, author of the young adult novel “Half and Half” will
introduce us to the trials of Fiona Cheng growing up half-Scottish and
half-Chinese in Seattle.  Her brother is red-headed and prefers
martial arts to highland dancing, and she really really would love to
wear his kilt and dance – but her parents and her grandparents would
prefer her to wear a chinese dress to go with her black hair.

Luck Club – the instrumental hip hop band, recently returned from a
cross-Canada tour will be providing “ambient groove music” during our
reception.  But I think they might even get in on our version of
“The Haggis Rap.”

Our non-traditional reading of the “Address to the
Haggis” is always a crowd pleaser.  But
this year, audience members will be reading a different Burns poem to
tie their tongues around the gaelic tinged words.  Will it be “A
Man's A Man for All That,” “To a Mouse,”
My Luv is Like a Red Red Rose,” or maybe even “Tam O-Shanter?”

hand-pick members of the
audience to join us on stage to read a verse.  Past participants
have included former federal Multicultural Secretary of State Raymond
Chow, Qayqayt
(New Westminster) First Nations Chief Rhonda Larrabee, , a
descendent of Robert the
Bruce, a doctor from White Horse, a UBC student from Scotland, somebody
doing a vocal impression of Sean Connery.  Last year we invited
Faye Leung, Kelly Ip, Jim Harris (then national leader of the Green
Party) and NDP federal candidates Ian Waddell and Mary-Woo Sims – both
dressed in their Scottish and Chinese finest.

Who will it be for 2007?  We leave it up until the evening to decide.

The evening will wrap up somewhere between 9:00 and
9:30 pm, then we will socialize further until 10pm.  People will
leave with smiles on their faces and say to
each other, “Very Canadian,”  “Only in Vancouver could something
like this happen,” or “I'm telling my friends.”

New 2007 poster: Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

New 2007 poster: Gung Haggis Fat Choy:
Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

Check out this new poster for 2007 – click on attachment below.

It is also running as an ad in Common Ground magazine, as this was designed by their graphics department, based on files for our original 2005 poster created by Jaime Griffiths.

Common Ground magazine is one of this year's event sponsors, and will once again sponsor our VIP table.  I think that this is a great relationship as Gung Haggis Fat Choy seeks to find common ground between Scots-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian history and cultures, as well as other Canadian cultures and histories.

Other 2007 sponsors include:
Firehall Arts Centre
Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop
Ricepaper Magazine

This dinner event is a fundraiser for:
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team
Joy Kogawa House
Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop / Ricepaper Magazine