Category Archives: Gung Haggis Fat Choy – Media Stories

Georgia Straight: Gung Haggis Fat Choy at Floata rings in the Year of the Water Dragon

the inaugural 
“Gung Haggis Fat Choy Intercultural Achievement Awards of
Congratulations to Vancouver Opera's James Wright,
Parliamentary poet laureate Fred Wah, and cultural organizer and poet
Jim Wong-Chu. These are people that inspire what we love in the BC Arts,
and what we create at Gung Haggis Fat Choy… and our intercultural
projects through the year.  Great that the Georgia Straight scooped this dinner highlight from our event last night.

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.

photo Charlie Smith

Georgia Straight: Gung Haggis Fat Choy at Floata rings in the Year of the Water Dragon

“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:

2008 was a fantastic year for Gung Haggis Fat Choy: reviewing last year’s events

Every year Gung Haggis Fat Choy attracts media attention and finds new ways to explore cultural diversity.  Here’s a look back at 2008.

There were a number of media articles prior to the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event.  We were mentioned in the Vancouver Sun, Co-op Radio, Georgia Straight, and Shaw TV’s “The Express”.  On Robbie Burns Day, Todd was interviewed on Rock 101’s Brother Jake Show with Vancouver councilor Raymond Louie, then with bagpiper Joe McDonald, Todd and Joe performed and excerpt of their “Haggis Rap” for CBC Newsworld television.

Gung Haggis 2008 Dinner 160 by you.

Catherine Barr and Todd Wong auction off a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label scotch at the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner – photo VFK.

ON THE BURNER – by Mia Stainsby

Todd Wong featured interview on Co-Op Radio’s Accordion Noir

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

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

Rock 101’s Brother Jake Show with Vancouver city councilor Raymond Louie

CBC Newsworld update for Todd Wong & Joe McDonald appearance:

What to expect at Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2008 dinner – how to enjoy and have fun!

Metro News posts story and picture of Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Gung Haggis Fat Choy in Province Newspaper today for Chinese New Year

Full of surprises…. Gung Haggis Fat Choy celebrates 10th Anniversary for Toddish McWong’s Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

From the Brunei Times to the Scottish Sunday Post, Toddish McWong is becoming known the world, o’er

download by you.
Vancouver councilor Raymond Louie did show up in a Royal Stuart tartan kilt.  Here he stands with VIP host Deb Martin and Gregor Robertson MLA (now Vancouver mayor) at the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner – photo Dave Samis

Tonight: George McWhirter and Fred Wah featured for Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night at Vancouver Public Library

Georgia Straight pokes fun at “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” becoming a icon of cultural diversity

North Seattle Herald-Outlook
has written a story about the upcoming 2nd coming of Toddish McWong to
Seattle.  Last year we staged a Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns
Chinese New Year Dinner on Chinese New Year Day in Seattle.  It was a
benefit for the Pacific North West Junior Pipe Band. 

Eric on the Road podcast with Gung Haggis Fat Choy – hitting US pod cast waves

Gung Haggis dragon boat team team hits the water with a Global TV cameraman filming them to celebrate BC’s cultural diversity

Feb 24

Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy II, sells out and sets new standards!

From the Brunei Times to the Scottish Sunday Post, Toddish McWong is becoming known the world, o'er

Last month stories about Toddish McWong and Gung Haggis Fat Choy were published in Brunei and Dundee Scotland.

As Robert Burns wrote in his immortal poem A Man's A Man for A' That

It's coming yet for a' that,

That man to man, the world, o'er

Shall brithers be for a' that.

I received phone calls from two intrepid reporters tracking me down.  One was Iain Harrison who lives in Dundee Scotland, wrote for the Sunday Post They all love Todd Wong's sweet and sour haggis.

The Brunei Times printed a wire story and titled Gung Haggis bridging the ethnic gap written by Deborah Jones of Vancouver for the Associated Press.  And we made the Weyak World News in the Arab Emirates Scottish bagpipese usher in Canada's multi-ethnic Chinese New Year

It was also printed in Florida's Orlando Sentinel as Oh Canada! Chinese New Year embraces the haggis.

Oh my goodness… we even made the Yahoo! News, too!

Who was the first Chinese hockey player in the NHL? Tom Hawthorn tells the story.

Ever watch the Tim Horton hockey dad commercial featuring a Chinese Canadian grandpa telling his son that he did pay attention? 

When I first spoke with actor Russell  Jung, I asked him “Who was the first Chinese hockey player in the NHL?”

“Larry Kwong,” answered Russell.

Read my 2006 story about my the Tim Horton's hockey dad commercial with a comment by actor Russell Jung

Kwong played in the 1947 NHL season – 11 years before Willie O'Ree became the first black player in the NHL.  Long before Paul Kariya became the first Asian hockey star player.

The Asian North America Timeline Project lists this under 1947:

During the 1947-48 season, Larry ('King') Kwong is the first Chinese Canadian to play in the NHL as a member of the New York Rangers Hockey Club.  Also known as the 'China Clipper' during an illustrious juniors and seniors hockey career in B.C., Kwong went on to become Assistant Captain of the Valleyfield Braves in the Quebec Senior Hockey League where he led the team to a Canadian Senior Championship and received the Byng of Vimy award for sportsmanship.  Kwong later accepted an offer to play hockey in England and coach in Lausanne, Switzerland.  He would spend the next 15 years in Europe as a hockey and tennis coach.  In 1972, Kwong returned to Canada and is now the President of Food Vale in Calgary.

Last month Tom Hawthorn wrote an incredible story in the Globe and Mail about the Vernon BC, born Larry Kwong.

Check out Tom's story on his blog “One Minute to Make History”

Then check out his writing buddy Terry Glavin's blog, about Tom's story. 

The Story of Larry Kwong: Bellhop, Shipyard Worker, Grocer, Hockey Player, Hero.  Terry even throws in a mention about Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Toddish McWong.

I emailed Tom Hawthorn asking for Larry Kwong's contact information, because Russell Jung wanted to meet him.  Tom obliged and wrote back to me:

Good to hear from you.  I wrote a story about you and Gung Haggis Fat Choy many, many years ago in the Province.  Glad to see you've spread it around the globe.

I sent back a link to Tom, showing that a Feb 7 wire service story by Deborah Jones was printed in the Brunei Times:  'Gung Haggis' bridging the ethnic gap

Small world, isn't it?

Gung Haggis Fat Choy on CBC Blog and

Gung Haggis Fat Choy made it to the CBC Blog and

Check out:

Family 2004 111.SizedAs
well as being the time of year when kilted men address a haggis, it is
also getting close to the time of year when many people say, “Gung Hei
Fat Choy,” addressing the Chinese New Year.

Todd Wong does both. He's a Chinese Canadian whose family has been
in B.C. since the 19th century. Some years ago he was asked to help out
with a Robbie Burns day celebration, and this is what it led to — a
fine example of cross-cultural Canadianism, with the annual celebration
of Chinese New Year's AND Robbie Burns day, called Gung Haggis Fat Choy.

In the first year in his new guise, Toddish McWong, Todd played
Scottish songs, read Asian Canadian poetry as well as poems by Robbie
Burns. This year, (the celebration is being held on Sunday) bagpiper Joe McDonald and Toddish McWong are performing a (short) rap version of Burns immortal poem, Address To A Haggis. This, I am told, will also be presented on the 6pm news on CBC's Newsworld tonight. So, if ye wish her gratfu' prayer, Gie her a haggis! And raise your hands in the air, wave 'em like you just don't care!

the Fashion Spot – Toddish McWong's Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Toddish mcwong's Gung Haggis Fat Choy the Entertainment Spot. way to make haggis edible. Also poetry reading! Robbie Burns leavened with ?? Metro News – 2 hours ago – Similar pages

Generations on CBC Newsworld. The Chan Legacy plays 5 times

Generations on CBC Newsworld. 
The Chan Legacy plays 5 times

The Chan Legacy is the lead episode in the new documentary series Generations on CBC Newsworld.  It has played a total of 5 times.  But only the 1st and 2nd times were listed correctly on the website.  I had trouble finding listings on the program listings.

Feedback has been very positive.  Family members are very proud.  Friends are very supportive.  Historians are enthusiastic. Strangers are thrilled.

The series is supposed to repeat on July 29th and is listed on the Generations website – but not the CBC Newsworld program listings.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.

I am looking forward to seeing the other Generations stories. 
The Blairs of Quebec begins on Wednesday July 11th.
The McCurdy Birthright begins on Wednesday July 18th
The Crowfoot Dynasty begins on Wednesday July 25th

July 4th Wednesday

  7:00 p.m. Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
Generations: The Chan Legacy

July 4th Wednesday

  10:00 p.m. Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
Generations: The Chan Legacy

July 6th Friday

  1:00 a.m. Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
Generations: The Chan Legacy

July 8th Sunday

  7:00 a.m. Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
Generations: The Chan Legacy

July 9th, Monday

  12:00 a.m. Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
Generations: The Chan Legacy

Other upcoming Generations episodes
July 11th, Wednesday

7:00 p.m. Generations: The Blairs of Quebec
– An Anglophone family with 250 years of history in Quebec City struggles to maintain it's heritage.
Generations: The Blairs of Quebec

July 18th, Wednesday

7:00 p.m. Generations: The McCurdy Birthright
– From the Underground Railroad to the House of Commons, one of the oldest Black families built a civil rights legacy.
Generations: The McCurdy Birthright

July 25th, Wednesday

7:00 p.m. Generations: 100 Years in Crowfoot
– The Crowfoot Dynasty: The descendants of a great Chief continue a
legacy of Native leadership through seven generations.
Generations: 100 Years in Crowfoot

BBC Radio Scotland: Vancouver's Toddish McWong talks about Canada's Scottish-Chinese-Canadian Community: Gung Haggis Fat Choy!

BBC Radio Scotland: Vancouver's Toddish McWong talks about Canada's Scottish-Chinese-Canadian Community: Gung Haggis Fat Choy!

A special warm welcome to Scots finding our website after listening to
BBC Radio Scotland's arts and culture program The Radio Café.  

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Canada’s
Scottish Chinese community
,” is how the Radio host described what was
coming up on the Monday April 3rd program, as
Radio Cafe this week is featuring aspects of the Scottish diaspora and its influences around the world, and will highlight Tartan Week in New York City where a huge parade will take over the street with men in kilts!

I, Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong, was featured today on BBC Radio Scotland this afternoon at approximately 2:53pm Greenich Time (5:53am Pacific).  But you can listen to the BBC Radio website at”
Click on Play to hear the introducations, then click on the Fast Forward buttons to reach 38:00

Clips from a pre-recorded interview of me run from approximately 38:30 to 41:45 of the full 45 minute Radio Cafe broadcast.

“This is what you get when you cross Robbie Burns Day with Chinese New Year”, opens the host, as my voice comes in.

“Gung Haggis Fat Choy is the intersection of Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year Day. 

“The Scots came across the Atlantic and named the land Nova Scotia, the Chinese came across the Pacific and called it “Gum San” (Gold Mountain).

“With haggis – we mix in with haggis with Chinese food!
We invented Deep Fried Haggis Won Ton.

“This is what Canada is about.
Many white Canadians can wear Chinese outfits and say they are learning about Multiculturalism.

“My kilt is the maple leaf tartan, and it has all the colours of Canada in it.  The Greens, yellows and reds of the Maple Leaf.”

“I recently read a book about “How the Scots invented the Modern World” and I think that the Chinese invented the Ancient World.”

Here are  some links to help you navigate

Origins of Gung Haggis Fat Choy story – It all started back in 1993, when I was a wee student studying at Simon Fraser University on the highlands of Burnaby Mountain.

Todd's poem “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” – 

“The Chinese called this land Gum San (Gold Mountain),
 And the Scots gave it the name of Nova Scotia
Westerners became Easterners
The Far East becomes the Far West.”

Dinner menu for 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner
– 10 courses of food, mostly traditional Chinese , but served up with haggis won ton, and haggis lettuce wrap + spicy jelly fish, noodles, rice vermicelli, curried beef and potatoes, and crab.

article and photos from Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
– pictures of real-life intercultural music, relationships and food.  Pictured above is our 2005 poster, my friends Lorrie and Tony Breen, myself with my girlfriend Deb Martin.

Recipes for Gung Haggis Won Ton, and Gung Haggis Spring Rolls and haggis-stuffed tofuHonestly!  So many people have said, “I didn't know haggis could taste so good!”

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team
mixing Chinese dragon boats with wearing tartans!

Here's a new article at The Scotsman about Burns Dinners Around the World.

Here's a new article at The Scotsman about Burns Dinners Around the World.

Guess who they name?

This is a very interesting story about Burns Day dinners in Paris, Hong
Kong, and of course the infamous and internationally known Toddish
McWong's Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Vancouver, Canada.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy goes Montreal via Maisoneuve Magazine/website

Gung Haggis Fat Choy goes Montreal

via Maisoneuve Magazine/website

Check out this interview I did for Maisoneuve Magazine with writer Christopher DeWolf



Christopher DeWolf writes about the different ways Chinese New Year is
being celebrated in Vancouver – but I will just get to the good stuff
here.  Click on the links to visit the full article at Maisoneuve Magazine

This much is obvious when you talk to Todd Wong, the cheerful founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy,
one of Vancouver’s newest and most intriguing cultural events. It all
started when Wong was a student at Simon Fraser University. “I was
asked to participate in the Robbie Burns Day celebration and nobody
wanted to. Nobody wanted to wear a kilt! It was too strange, it was too
weird. But I realized this is a multicultural statement. You’ve got a
fifth-generation Chinese-Canadian wearing a kilt. It really put a flip
on the stereotypes.” That was in 1993. Over the next several years a
series of small dinners with friends based around the
Chinese-cum-Scottish theme eventually ballooned into what is now a
600-person banquet featuring a twelve-course dinner, big-name guests
and a number of fun and prominent performers. Traditional Chinese New
Year dishes are served for dinner but the real star is the haggis which
finds itself transformed into wontons, lettuce wraps and spring rolls.
The cross-cultural culinary experience is upstaged only by the list of
entertainment. This year the long list of talent includes iconic
Japanese-Canadian author Joy Kogawa, who will speak to the audience
some time after Lala, a Chinese-Canadian artist who blends soul and hip
hop with traditional Asian and Canadian music, has performed. “We have
to have fun with multiculturalism,” says Wong.

But Gung Haggis Fat Choy isn’t just about multiculturalism; it’s about interculturalism.There’s
a fine but important distinction between the two. “It’s like a
marriage,” explains Wong. “When you have an intercultural marriage,
somebody’s actually coming into your family. For me, all my cousins on
my maternal side and half my paternal cousins have interracially
married. So we celebrate and everyone in the family is included.”
That’s a pretty apt metaphor for Vancouver, even in a literal
sense—last year, Statistics Canada determined that Vancouver is home to
the largest proportion of mixed-race couples in Canada. Vancouver’s
character is being built around cultural blending and exchange. “In
Vancouver’s search for its own identity, everybody gets to express
their own. We don’t have a long history—we are creating our history and
identity in this moment,” adds Wong.

inevitably then, in our lovely land of order and good governance, comes
the question of how to enshrine part of that identity in a legal sense.
Last year, a debate in Vancouver’s Chinese media about whether to make
the Lunar New Year a public holiday made it into the pages of the Vancouver Sun,
which asked, “Is it time to make it official?” Vancouver’s schools
already throw multicultural New Year celebrations and, last year, all
of the city’s high schools and half of its elementary schools closed
for Lunar New Year. So why not make it a public holiday? Both
Wong and Leung are skeptical. “It’s unfair to other cultural groups to
isolate a Chinese holiday,” says Leung. Wong concurs. “I think that it
is better presently to continue the status quo,” he says. “Should St.
Patrick’s Day and Robbie Burns Day become official holidays? Or Diwali?
or Persian New Year?”

They have a point, but
it’s helpful to remember that, unlike Robbie Burns Day or even Diwali,
the Lunar New Year is celebrated by a huge number of Vancouverites. Not
only is it a traditional festival for the Chinese, Korean and
Vietnamese population, many non-Asians celebrate it by attending
parades, the CFCC fair or by simply getting together with friends for
dinner. Making it a public holiday in Vancouver would be an important
symbol of the city’s dynamic character, one that is just as Asian as it
is European. Still, making the Lunar New Year a holiday would
ultimately be a token gesture; Vancouver’s character will continue to
evolve regardless. “When I travel through Vancouver,” says Wong, “to me
it’s intercultural. I don’t want to go to all the traditional dances
and all that; I want to see what’s exciting. How do we create our own
culture? How does Vancouver create its own identity by drawing on all
its ethnic ancestries?”

The answer will be
something for future generations to discover. In the meantime, have a
good Year of the Dog. Gung Hay–er, Haggis–Fat Choy!

Maisoneuve Magazine