Category Archives: Gung Haggis Fat Choy – Media Stories

CBC Radio and Metro News: Gung Haggis Media Alert: Look and listen for Toddish McWong


CBC Radio and Metro News: Gung  Haggis Media Alert: 


Look and listen for Toddish McWong

Thursday afternoon I met with Metro News reporter Jared, Dragon
Martials Arts store on Pender St. at the Chinese Cultural Centre. 
This is where I purchased my Lion Head mask.  I never ever
imagined that the combination of Chinee Lion Head maskwith a red kilt
would become such an iconic symbol of “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” cultural
fusion…. but it did.  The image has become copied and blogged
around the world… from Calfornia to Canton, from Nova Scotia to
Scotland, from New Jersey to Simon Fraser University.

Jared took some pictures of me at Dragon Martial Arts, where I also
purchased a small child's lion head mask for my nephew.  I think
he'll like it.  We also took some pictures with the Lion Head mask
on the standing on the corner of Carrall and Pender St.  with the
Chinatown Millenium Gate designed my my cousin Joe Wai, in the

Friday morning I am expecting a phone call from the hosts of the new CBC Radio program “Freestyle.”
They are looking for an update on the 9th annual
Gung Haggis Fat Choy” Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year
Dinner.  I will have to tell them that I have friends from
Victoria to Halifax, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal who all
share in the Gung Haggis spirit, and may be hosting their own Gung
Haggis Fat Choy dinners, and raising a dram of whiskey to toast Toddish

I am amazed at how many people across Canada have heard about Gung
Haggis Fat Choy.  Last year my 2nd cousin Katie in Toronto phoned
my Grandmother to tell her that she saw me on CBC TV's The National
with Peter Mansbridge.  Some people have heard me on Sounds Like
Canada with Shelagh Rogers.  Friends have been e-mailing me the
new story in written by Christina Wallace who
hopefully will be attending this year's dinner from Everett WA. 
And next week, my friends in Montreal will read about me in Maisoneuve.

And maybe one day, we can all put aside our racial prejudices, our
religious differences, and our political beliefs, and all celebrate our
similarities and our common Canadian-isms over dinner.  Food and
song.  This is what brings people together.  And together is
how we build a nation. And everybody in our nation is family.  And
in family, nobody gets left behind.

Win Tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy – listen to CBC Radio 690 Early Edition

Win Tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy
– listen to CBC Radio 690 Early Edition

Win a pair of tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy on CBC Radio's Early Edition Friday show

Listen on Friday, Thursday Jan 19th, somewhere between 7am and 9am on 690
AM CBC Radio One for co-host Margaret Gallagher to give away tix as
part of “690 to Go
as she gives away tickets to the “city's hottest events.”  This
will be the third year Margaret has given away GHFC tickets to CBC
listeners.  We must be hot!  We think Margaret is hot. 
Margaret has both performed and co-hosted for Gung Haggis Fat Choy in
past years.  Margaret guest paddled in our dragon boat entry in
the St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2005. We always sing “When Chi-rish
Eyes Are Smiling” –
only for Margaret.

Margaret will also be introducing one of the
Scottish descendant Early Edition crew members to Haggis Won Ton. 
Margaret grabbed some from our taste testing on Wednesday Night. 
This is going to be fun!  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Canadian cultural fusion

– More raffle prizes coming….

tickets for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre's next installment of SEX IN VANCOUVER: Doin’ It Again.

tickets for Firehall Arts Centre

swag from City TV

tickets for Curious? restaurant

passes for Maxfit fitness classes

tickets for Chinese Cultural Centre Museum

win a seat in a dragon boat for the St. Patrick's Day Parade!

lots of books on Asian Canadians and Asian Canadian culture from Harbour Publishing, including BC Almanac's Greatest Britishc Columbians

Chow from China to Canada: Tales of Food and Family from Whitecap Books

lots more prizes to be announced.

The Scotsman: Burns meets the dragon in a Chinese Canadian feast

The Scotsman:

Burns meets the dragon in a Chinese Canadian feast

The Scotsman, international journal for the Scottish diaspora has
published a story about Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  Journalist
Christina Harper interviewed myself and bagpiper Joe MacDonald.

Piper Joseph McDonald (inside dragon mask) and...

Piper Joseph McDonald (inside dragon mask) and Gung Haggis Fat Choy organiser Todd Wong.
Picture: Jaime Griffiths

Burns meets the dragon in a Chinese Canadian feast


NO MATTER where Scots have settled throughout the world, chances are
that as January 25 gets closer many of them will shake out sporrans,
dust down kilts and attend a Burns Supper.

From Australia to
Alabama, thousands of ex-pat Scots will savour haggis, neeps and whisky
while the Bard's immortal words flow through the air. But in Vancouver,
British Columbia, there's an annual event that Burns, to many the
quintessential everyman, would surely be proud.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy
is a celebration of Burns Night and Chinese New Year created by fifth
generation Chinese Canadian Todd Wong, or if you’d rather: Toddish
McWong. The event has grown from an intimate merging of the two
cultures at a dinner in 1998, to a cultural must-do filled with song,
dance, poetry and a feast that in 2005 fed 600 people.

As a piper Joseph McDonald has been involved in many traditional
Burns suppers. He likes them, but says that they are not too surprising
in terms of what is going to happen next and what food people will dine
on. “With this the food is different,” says McDonald.

<a href="" target="_blank"> Joseph McDonald</a> on pipes and dhol player Nealamjit Dhillon.

Joseph McDonald on pipes and dhol player Nealamjit Dhillon.

He plays the bagpipes accompanied by an Indian dhol drum and the singer songwriter has been performing at Gung Haggis Fat Choy since
2001. “He[Wong] said, 'I'm having this Gung Haggis Fat Choy. You
would fit in.' It’s all about blending cultures,” says
McDonald.   It has become a tradition to have the bagpipes
and the dhol to get the event started and McDonald pipes in the haggis.

it's quite an affair where the waiters are all lined up with quite a
few haggises,” says McDonald. “It's quite a spectacle.”

Read the rest of the article Burns Meets the Dragon in Chinese Canadian Feast

Tickets on sale NOW for Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2006 at Firehall Arts Centre

Tickets are now available for Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

(please note…. this article is for  2006

–  tix for 2007 dinner will be available soon)

January 22, 2006
5pm reception
6pm dinner start

Call the Firehall Arts Centre Box Office 604-689-0926. 
Order and charge by credit card.

Advance Price:
$60 Premium Seating with wine
$50 Regular Seating
Children 12 and under – 50%
Tickets will be mailed out – with map and assigned seating

All seats receive subscription to Ricepaper Magazine ($20 value)

After January 7th:
$70 Premium Seating with wine
$60 Regular
Tickets will be held at Will Call

There is a $3 handling charge per ticket to the patron.

I have chosen to use Firehall Arts Centre Box Office for ticket distribution because:

1) This event has grown too big to handle tickets on a volunteer basis

2) The Firehall Arts Centre is committed to culturally diverse contemporary theatre.

3) They can handle credit card purchases, making it easier for everybody, instead of mailing in cheques.

4) I believe the Firehall Theatre Society is a wonderful
organization, and I encourage people to attend some of their

For more information contact Todd Wong 778-846-7090
or e-mail gunghaggis at


Toddish McWong on BBC Radio Scotland: Check it out on-line

Toddish McWong on BBC Radio Scotland –
Check it out on-line

“Toddish McWong” or in Canadian, Todd Wong, is featured on BBC Radio Scotland on the radio Scotland website. 

Just click on programs – go to “Scotland Licked” – then wait awhile
until you hear the voice of host Maggie Shiels.  Listen to the
introductions where she talks about finding me in Canada – then click
on the 15 minute fast forward button. I will be heard very very soon….

The interview explores the origins of my Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner event, and the haggis-Chinese fusion food that we have created for it.

The crew said that I definitely had
a “Canadian accent” – Funny because my girlfriend said that she loved
“Maggie's” liting “Scottish accent.”

St. Andrew's Day is in honour of the Patron Saint of Scotland – that's
the reason Maggie came looking for me – to find out what I had done
with “their haggis”.  Simply wrapped it in won ton wrappings and
added waterchestnuts, deep fried  and dipped in sweet and sour
sauce.  I also describe the haggis lettuce wrap.

Then Maggie asked what I had done to the Robbie Burns poem – “Address
to the Haggis”?  I told her that we “updated” it… and proceeded
to “rap” it.  I think for the January 22nd, I will have performer
Rick Scott sing along with me to “The Haggis wRap!”

Happy St. Andrew's Day (January 30th)

Toddish McWong on BBC Radio Scotland – next Monday Nov 28th – Scottish Time

Toddish McWong on BBC Radio Scotland – next Monday Nov 28th – Scottish Time

“Toddish McWong” or in Canadian, Todd Wong, will be featured onto BBC Radio Scotland on Monday – Nov 28th (11.30 am
Scottish time) or 3:30am PST if you are in Vancouver BC.. However, you can go to
the listen again option on the radio Scotland website. 

The interview explores the origins of my Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner event, and the haggis-Chinese fusion food that we have created for it.

Maggie Shiels and the crew of the program
Scotland Licked! are now asking me to send them about 2 recipes for
Chinese Haggis dishes you
serve at your Burns Suppers – so that they can include them on our

The crew said that I definitely had
a “Canadian accent” – Funny because my girlfriend said that she loved
“Maggie's” liting “Scottish accent.”

Darn…. but I forgot to tell
Maggie that we mix bamboo shoots and water chestnuts in with the haggis for
the won ton and the spring rolls.  Makes it good and crunchy. 
mmmmm….. crunch crunch – good!

And we mix in maple syrup to the sweet and
sour sauce.  Sometimes a bit a Drambuie or scotch too.

My friends
always get asked by the media if the haggis is any good. 
My Grand-Uncle
called it “dandy” – and we always point out that tripe and chicken's feet are
always part of Chinese “dim sum” lunch.  “Dim Sum” actually means “little bit of heart”, “touch the heart”, or “close to the heart” – so the idea of eating Sheep's
organs mixed with oatmeal is not such a revolting idea to regular Chinese food

My girlfriend also said that I forgot to tell Maggie,
that my Bear Kilts “Maple Leaf” tartan kilt is made of synthetic polyviscous
material.  This makes it perfect for summer when I go dragon boat
paddling in the local Vancouver saltwater.

Does “haggis won ton” translate into french? The Source interview for Gung Haggis Fat Choy January 2005

Does “haggis wun-tun” translate into french?

Early in January 2005, I did an interview for The Source, a bilingual
newspaper in Vancouver.  Nigel Barbour met me at Library Square
and we chatted at Guttenberg's – one of my favorite coffee and tea
houses in the Library Square area.

Nigel was very intrigued by the concept of Chinese-Canadian and Scottish-Canadian cultures mixed together.

Very strange to read out myself in french.  Mais bien encours, je
peux parler en francais plus mieux que je parle en chinois.  Je
suis nay a Vancouver.  Je suis  cinquieme-generation Canadien!

Here's the link to the interview.

Vancouver Sun newspaper addresses the evolution of Chinese New Year

A Holiday in Everything But Name: Chinese New Year is now celebrated locally like never before – is it time to make it official?

Vancouver Sun – February 12 – page D1 & D19

The Vancouver Sun's Kevin Griffin addresses issues
around the evolution of Chinese New Year in Vancouver and Canada. 
He asks the question: Should Chinese New Year become an official

Griffin also cites how “the uniquely local Canadian
banquet Gung Haggis Fat Choy that mixes and matches Scottish and
Chinese New Year's traditions continues to grow and threatens to morph
into its own festival.”

Griffin interviews Dr. Jan Walls and explores the history of the
Vancouver Chinatown parade that originally emerged in the 1960's, faded
then re-emerged in 1974.  He then addresses Toddish McWong's Gung
Haggis Fat Choy and its spin-offs. I have only included the parts about
Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Todd Wong.

“Another multicultural tradition that's 100 percent local is Gung
Haggis Fat Choy, the creation of fifth generation Chinese-Canadian Todd
Wong.  The postmodern mix of chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day
started seven years ago when Wong invited 16 friends for dinner. 
Two weeks ago, about 600 people turned out for a feast that included
Haggis Wun-tun in maple syrup at Chinatown's Floata Restaurant.

This past year, Wong added something new to the mix: The first annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Canadian Games
at SFU that started off with a Highland dance, a tune by a bagpiper and
a Lion Dance.  The main event was dragon cart racing with teams
sporting names such as Haggis Hooligans and Fat Choy Chunkies.

Crystal Buchan had the honor of steering the winning team.  At 20, she's in her second year in the theatre-finarts program.

Asked if Chinese New Year should be a holiday, Buchan said, “Sure, why not?.”

Todd Wong – aka 'Toddish McWong' – isn't nearly as certain.

'It depends on the will of the people.” Wong said.  “It's hard to say at this point.”

In part, Wong's perspective comes from his own family history.  He's a descendent of Rev. Chan Yu Tan,
his great-great-grandfather who came to B.C. from Hong Kong in 1896
when immigrants were actively discouraged and had to pay a head tax of
$50 (later increased to $500).  Wong recalls growing up in the
1960's and 1970's when Chinese culture was maginalized.

Wong's family history spans the historiy of discrimination towards
Chinese immigrants and the complete prohibition of immigration from
china from 1923 to 1947 with the Chinese Exculsion Act
Because the emphasis was on fitting in when Wong was growing up int he
late 1960's, his fmaily never celebrated chinese New Year.

He believes that the next challenge for Chinese New Year is not only
to integrate the old and new Chinese Canadian communities but to make
it a uniquely multicultual and Canadian event.

“That's where the future lies,” Wong said. “Canada is an evolving
culture.  Lunar New Year will continue to grow and be inclusive –
not just limited to Chinese.”

For more of Kevin Griffin's story in the February 12 Vancouver Sun – pick up a copy or check



Burnaby News Leader interviews Todd Wong about SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy “Canadian Games”

Simon Fraser University is awash with images of Toddish McWong, dressed in Lionhead mask and Royal Stewart tartan kilt.  The
picture has been adopted by the SFU Recreation and Intramurals
department to promote the inaugural SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy “Canadian
Games.”  There are 4’x2’ signs hanging from
the ceiling of the Academic Quadrangle, and there are 3’x 2’ sandwich
board signs all around the campus.  I never
expected to see so many images of me in a kilt all around the SFU
campus, 12 years after I first donned a kilt to help participate in the
SFU Robbie Burns Day mini-parade.


from Burnaby News Leader interviewed me today at Simon Fraser
University, asking me questions about the origin of Gung Haggis Fat Choy and the creation of the SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy “Canadian Games.”


The story should appear in the next few days. Here is my recollection of some of the interesting questions she asked me:


Q: What is Gung Haggis Fat Choy?

A: It
is the intersection of two seemingly different cultures in which we
discover the similarities.  It is the exploration of Scottish
Canadian and Chinese Canadian pioneers and history that belongs to all
Canadians.  It is the intercultural fusion that happens as more
and more of Canadians from different ethnic and cultural groups marry
into each other's families and cultures.



A: Why
not?  It's going to happen anyways.  Almost all my cousins
have married people who are non-Chinese.  This allows their
children and their children's children to be able to celebrate both
cultures simutaneously and with fun.


this point the photographer says that he has a friend who hated all the
family politics and tension filled expectations surrounding Chinese New
Year in his family – but irronically he and his partner have been
attending the GHFC dinner for the past two years, and enjoying it


Q: How do people react to the cross-cultural fusion?

Very well, they “get the joke,” and after the dinners there are so many
people who leave smiling, saying “I have to tell my friends,” or “Only
in Vancouver could this happen.”


Q: Has anybody Scottish Canadians reacted negatively towards you?

A: Do
you mean, “How dare you misappropriate and make fun of our culture and
traditions!” (laughing) No… not at all… never in fact.  They actually think it’s pretty cool that a Chinese Canadian guy is promoting Scottish culture.  Harry
McGrath, coordinator at the SFU Center for Scottish Studies, comes to
the Gung Haggis Fat Choy poetry readings and he told me the other day,
“You’re famous in Scotland.” He was referring to a Canadian Press story
that had interviewed McGrath about this Sino-Caledonian fusion.  Harry thinks it’s grrrreat!


Q: How do you feel about people coming to the events?

A: I think it’s great. They get the joke.  As Canadians we have to laugh at ourselves, and have fun with ourselves.  So many Canadian families are now blended cultures.  We are celebrating inclusiveness.  We are celebrating learning about each other’s cultures.  We are celebrating learning about Canada’s own Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian histories.  It belongs to all Canadians – not just a particular ethnic group.


Q: Have there been any other Scottish Chinese dinners like yours, are there any imitators?

A: Not
that I know of (it slipped my mind that the Chinatown Lions’ Club has
done a Robbie Burns Dinner for many years – but apparently not as wacky
or humourously as mine).  There was somebody
who worked with me at the Vancouver Public Library, who told me he and
a group of friends had their own “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” dinner by
ordering in Chinese food, reading Robbie Burns poetry and playing a
bagpipes cd.  I am going to have to put together a “Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Dinner Kit” and include suggested format, Robbie poems, Asian Canadian
poems, my own poems and a bagpipe cd by my piper Joe McDonald


Q: Where do you see this going?

A:  All across Canada.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners in every town.  People are asking about Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  They want to do their own dinners.  I have heard from people in Edmonton, Nanaimo, Tacoma, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Portland…

And if it brings people together than that is great!  I know that my own ancestors had a hard time in this land because of racial discrimination – often because of Scots.  But now we have so many cousins marrying people of Scottish descent.  We are all intermarrying each others’ cultures.  This is creating a uniquely Canadian culture.  And it is all good.


We finished by doing a photo session with Mario the photographer.  He
had me jumping into the air, holding my dragon boat paddle in one hand,
and my dragon hand puppet perched on my other hand (I don’t think he
was trying to get a shot under my kilt).  I did a variety of leaps, recalling my jumping repetoire from my days spent freestyle skiing on moguls.


Ó 2005 Todd Wong

Mia Stainsby lists Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event in Vancouver Sun article: Best New Restaurants 2004

Vancouver food critic Mia Stainsby, listed Gung Haggis Fat Choy in her Cover story article for today's Vancouver Sun's “Queue” Arts & Entertainment summary.

In an article titled Best new restaurants 2004: Rising culinary stars showcase Vancouver's unique blend of multicultural cuisines, Mia writes: 

“Food is like edible culture.  Take a look at the best
restaurants that opened this year.  They tell us we're no longer a
city of immigrants with a disconnect between mainstream and ethnic

“Vancouver restaurants today, like the city itself, are more a
melting pot than a mosaic of many cultures.  International
cuisines have mixed and merged into a seamless whole, and like the
stitching on a baseball, there's no beginning or end to it. 
What's been happening is quite amazing and adds cosmopolitan flair to
the city.

“Ethnic restaurants are not only chameleons in the mainstream,
they're now at the forefront of ideas and trends, blurring the lines
forever, particularly Asian ones…  So-called western-style menus
are woven through and through with Asian notes and riffs.  Blended
cuisines are often referred to as 'fusion,' but it's gone beyond
self-conscious borrowings from ethnic cuisines.  It's a cuisine of
its own – Vancouver cuisine.”

Stainsby goes on to write: “And look at the success of the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy celebrations, the food-centred fusion of Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day.  Haggis wun tun
symbolizes this eccentric culinary union.  Only in
Vancouver.  The main event will be dinner at Floata restaurant on
January 30 and 700 party-goers are expected
. (See”

Stainsby mentions us after introducing Shiru Bay / Chopstick Cafe's natto ice cream (a sticky mix of fermented soy beans and ice cream), and Zakkushi Chacoal Grill's ome bushi sour cocktail (Japanese vodka, soda and crushed sour plum.)

Wow – we are in great company, and we are not even a
resturant!  We even got mentioned before Clove restaurant's butter
chicken and kafta balls, Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine, Also Lounge and

see Mia Stainsby's December 21, 2004 article about Gung Haggis Fat Choy titled Have a taste of 2004.