Category Archives: Gung Haggis Fat Choy – Media Stories

Reflections: Things that Toddish McWong could have told Peter Mansbridge, on CBC TV's The National about Gung Haggis Fat Choy

After my appearance on CBC TV's The National, of course there are things I wished I could have said.

“Todd – tell me how Gung Haggis Fat Choy has expanded,” asked Peter Mansbridge.

actual said – “The dinner has expanded to expecting 700 people this year.”

should have said – “We are expanding beyond the dinner event into mainstream events.  We have been invited to be part of the rejuvenated First Night Vancouver.  This will be an incredible event in downtown Vancouver's Theatre District, held at QE Plaza, CBC Plaza and Library Square. Performing with me will be Silk Road Music's Qiu Xia He & Andre Thibault, Dragon River Shadow Puppet Theatre's musicians Karen Wong & Zhongxi Yu.  We will be creating a family oriented show of audience singalongs, cross-over music, story telling – all celebrating Scottish Hogmanay and Chinese New Year on First Night.

We will have the 2nd annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night at the Vancouver Public – a free event of music and poetry featuring poet Fred Wah – a Governor General's Award for Poetry winner.  This is done in partnership with the World Poetry Series at the Vancouver Public Library, organized and co-hosted with Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica.  We will also be featuring musician songwriter Joe MacDonald, poets Dugald Christie and Shirley Sue-A-Quan.  And I, personally, will perform one of the songs I have written for a planned Children's album of songs celebrating Gung Haggis Fat Choy – incorporating Scottish Hogmany, Robbie Burns Day, Chinese New Year and Multiculturalism or Interculturalism.

We are creating the inaugural SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Highland Games at Simon Fraser University – and event to draw on SFU's adopted Scottish heritage and the large Asian student population, to bring the university population together for a series of intramural fun & games + music performances.

Terry “Bear” Varga – owner of Bear Kilts, was very happy – nay – extremely happy, that I was able to mention “This kilt is a Maple Leaf tartan, just made by my good friend “Bear” at Bear Kilts, in the short time I had speaking with Peter Mansbridge.  This also rated a mention on the web forum X Marks the Spot – a web site about everything KILTS.

And my website!  Peter, is getting thousands of hits now, and growing so fast.  I have now decided to use my blog to document and record Asian-Canadian and intercultural events in Vancouver, as I can attend.  I just reviewed the Vancouver Opera's production of Madama Butterfly, as well as a small community event, Harry Aoki's First Friday Forum.  All are important to the intercultural and cultural fusion dynamics of Vancouver.  There are many websites that list events, but very few that actually provide reviews.  So that is what my goal is, to share how engage in intercultural multicultural Vancouver, by sharing my personal adventures and events.

Toddish McWong meets Peter Mansbridge: Gung Haggis Fat Choy on CBC TV's The National

Peter Mansbridge meets Toddish McWong.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy on CBC TV's The National. Picture of me with Peter to come soon…

Roland has already provided a table of contents for new readers listing the essentials of Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  The topics on the left column is something I am just learning to use, it will become more complete as the weeks progress. 

The film clips: 

We filmed some shots last Monday – myself with accordion and lion head, performing music with Joe McDonald on bagpipes, and Harish Kumar on drum + eating haggis wun tun and haggis spring rolls at the Floata Restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown.

Also shown were clips of a musical variety special titled “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” – yes, CBC TV in Vancouver bought the rights from me to use the name, and produced a stunning multicultural tv special.  It was a greatly entertaining 30 minute show produced by Moyra Rodger of Out To See Productions, that had Monty Pythonesque touches with cartoon sequences.  It was so good that it was nominated for two Leo awards for best TV work in BC:  Best Musical/Variety and Best direction for Musical/Variety.

Rae Hull, CBC TV regional director, was the executive producer who invited me in for a meeting in July 2003 and said, “Todd, I think it's time to take Gung Haggis Fat Choy up to the next level.” And voila!  A script is written, studios are booked and music videos are made.

Anyways… from the TV special, clips featured The Paper Boys, Vancouver based celtic folk-rockers, Chinese flautist Ji Min Pan, bagpiper Tim Fanning – all shot in the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens in Vancouver.  Other segments not shown on The National featured Silk Road Music, George Sampoudis, and Joe McDonald's band Brave Waves, as well as the origins of Toddish McWong and Gung Haggis Fat Choy.

The Chinese New Year Dinner featured Joe McDonald in full kilt dress with bear skin hat (or is it ostrich feathers), singer Ula Shines joining my parents, grandmother, and friends.  That was a shot of me holding a plate of a large haggis.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy, the tv special, was proposed to the Toronto CBC head office to run nationally for January with an expanded format, but sadly it was turned down.  If Canadians would like to see the award nominated Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2004 tv special, then please call your local CBC station and ask them to play it for Robbie Burns Day on January 25th, or for Chinese New Year which will fall on Feb 9, in 2005.

It's good.  It is so good, that I believe all Canadians will absolutely love it.  Everybody I spoke to had real positive things to say about it, and it made them LAUGH!  It really captured the spirit of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners.  It pokes fun at stereotypes, it shows how Canadians borrow and cross cultures easily.  And most importantly, it shows some of the history of Scots and Chinese cultural traditions in Canada, as well as how we can laugh at ourselves (very important Canadian trait).  The next version would push the boundaries further… We came up with so many great ideas, that it is a shame not to see them realized. Imagine Sara McLachlan performing with her husband/drummer on Indian tabla drums… Loreena McKennit performing with Silk Road Music… hmmm… more dreams….

It was good to get the Gung Haggis Fat Choy voice on national TV.  It was a lot of work, I think we did about 3 hours of filming etc at Floata Restaurant last week in addition to about 4 hours in conversations, meetings and e-mails.  All for about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on air.  I will try to put a transcript on this blog – hopefully for tomorrow, as well as answer questions that readers may have.  Special thanks to National producer Sarah Quadri and reporter Eve Savory for all their hard work.

Oh – before I forget…  My kilt is made by Terry “Bear” Varga of Bear Kilts.  He started up his company only two years ago.  It is a synthetic polyviscose material – light, inexpensive and perfect for dragon boat paddling.  The tartan is called “Maple Leaf” – we are adopting it as the official Gung Haggis Fat Choy tartan.  And… instead of buckles, Terry uses… (dare I say it?)… velcro!

How is Gung Haggis expanding?  In every way possible, and never before imagined!

We will be featured at First Night Vancouver at the QE Plaza, Dec 31.  Performing with me will be Silk Road Music's Qiu Xia He and Andrea Thibault, Dragon River Shadow Puppet Theatre's Karen Wong and Zhongxi Yu, and hopefully Battery Opera's David McIntosh and Lee Su-Feh.  We promise a night full of family entertainment, featuring audience singalongs, storytelling, music and fun.

We will be at the Vancouver Public Library on Jan 17, Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night – hosted with my friend Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica – featuring poet Fred Wah, bagpiper Joe McDonald, Dugald Christie, and Shirley Sue-A-Quan.

So… thanks for tuning in and checking our blog.  Please make your comments and we will do our best to address them and answer your questions.

Slainte, Toddish





CBC TV's The National features Todd Wong & Gung Haggis Fat Choy on Dec 7, Tuesday

Dec 6th, 2004

- For immediate Release -

CBC Television’s The National features:

Todd Wong & Gung Haggis Fat Choy

On Tuesday Dec 7th, CBC TV's The National looks at life in one of Canada's most integrated cities, Vancouver BC. Urban Road Stories visits Todd Wong and his intercultural creation: Gung Haggis Fat Choy, also known as Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.   The show airs live on CBC NewsWorld at 6pm and locally on The National at 10pm.

The story follows a rehearsal with the musical fusion band Brave Waves, featuring bagpiper Joe McDonald and drummer Harish Kumar with Wong playing accordion. Haggis wun tun and spring rolls are also served up. News anchor Peter Mansbridge will then talk in person with Wong.

Wong’s 10 course Chinese dinner event + haggis, has been simultaneously described as "wacky", "whimsical", "Monty Pythonesque", and "very Canadian." It inspired the 2004 CBC Television special Gung Haggis Fat Choy, nominated for two Leo awards and produced by Out to See Production’s Moyra Rodgers.

The dinner blends together Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian cultural traditions, as well as creating some new ones. This "little" fundraiser dinner for Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team once started out as a dinner for 16, and now 700 are expected for dinner on January 30th, 2005. Floata is the 4th restaurant to host this dinner event, which almost doubles in size each year, quickly outgrowing 3 previously used restaurants.

Special co-host for 2005, will be Shelagh Rogers, host of CBC Radio's Sounds Like Canada. It was in September 2004, that Toddish McWong first created haggis wun tun as a special gift for Rogers, when she and her flagship morning show relocated to Vancouver from Toronto. Joining them as co-host will be Tom Chin of Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.

Performers for the event include: bagpiper Joe McDonald and his band Brave Waves, and contemporary hip-hop songstress LaLa – both featured in the Gung Haggis Fat Choy television special. Also joining them areOpera Soprano Heather Pawsey; Governor General's Award winning poet Fred Wah; Scottish Highland dancing brothers Vincent and Cameron Collins + many more special guests such as Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell.

Wong and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team will also be featured on the French television show Thalassa, shown on TV5 on December 10,11 & 12.

Tickets for Gung Haggis Fat Choy are now on sale at Firehall Arts Centre Box Office: 604-689-0926.

Earlybird price is $50 regular, $45 for students, $35 for children 12 and under. After Jan 2, the regular price is $60 and $55 for students, $45 for children 12 and under.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy events will be:

  • Dec 31 - First Night Vancouver @ QE Plaza & CBC Plaza
  • Jan 17 - Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night @ Vancouver Public Library
  • Jan 28 - SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Highland Games @ Simon Fraser University
  • Jan 30 – Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong’s Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

For More information check out

or call Todd Wong at 604-987-7124 or e-mail at

Cultures collide: Chinese don kilts, Scots try haggis wonton – Gung Haggis Fat Choy in Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Associated Press

Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2004 was in the Associated Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This is very appropriate because Todd has a Seattle familial connection which he will post about later.

From Cultures collide: Chinese don kilts, Scots try haggis wonton – written by Amy Carmichael and originally written for Canadian Press.

Here is an excerpt:

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Chinese men don kilts and Scots try haggis wonton in the annual multicultural Chinese New Year party for Scottish poet Robert Burns – a 1998 college gag that's become a mainstream event.

More than 500 people so far have snapped up tickets for this weekend's celebration. The birthday of the 18th century Scottish bard is Sunday, at the dawn of the Chinese New Year.

“This is what Canadian society is all about, introducing each other to our cultures and celebrating more holidays,” said organizer Todd Wong.

He was dubbed “Toddish McWong” when he caved in to pleas from friends in a Burns club to help out with their annual reading. The fifth-generation Chinese Canadian was given a book of Gaelic-spiked poems to recite, and a crash course on Scots traditions: men wearing skirts, carrying swords and eating weird foods.

“People, especially Scottish Canadians, thought it was really cool to see a Chinese guy wearing a kilt,” he said.

for more… check out Cultures collide: Chinese don kilts, Scots try haggis wonton – written by Amy Carmichael and originally written for Canadian Press. and Canadian Press gets a great story – check it out

Check it out Chinese don kilts by Amy Carmichael of Canadian Press (here's a PDF version).

This story was reprinted in Seattle Post Intelligence, Windsor ON, and many other newspapers and blogsites around the world.

Harry McGrath, coordinator of the SFU Scottish Studies Program and Beverly Nann, president of Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society give great quotes about Toddish McWong and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.

Please note: the photo credit should be to Don Montgomery and courtesy of Todd Wong

CBC TV Special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” + CBC Radio: All in one Day!!!

“Wow! What a show… fast moving – lots of interesting topics. Truly
quirky and at times full of irreverent trivia about Scots and Chinese –
just like the actual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner. Producer Moyra
Rodgers effectively captured the essence of the Toddish McWong Robbie
Burns Chinese New Year dinner.

I especially loved the animation segments that were extremely
reminescent of the old Monty Python's Flying Circus television
bits.  And the bits of trivia… such as how many times the size
or population of Scotland could fit into China – how fittingly
self-describes as “a completely uselsss bit of information.”

Quirky, irreverent, fun, educational, interesting… a juxtaposition
of diverse cultures giving new views of what it means to be Canadian. I
love it! Good on you Moyra! And to Rae too, especially for having the
vision and the courage to take a risk on Gung Haggis Fat Choy.
Afterall, 400 people at last year's dinner can't be wrong… and almost
another 600 people have already bought tickets for the the two nights
for Jan 24th & 25th, creating a 50% increase from last year.

This afternoon, soprano Heather Pawsey and I appeared on the CBC
Radio show The Afternoon Show with Kathryn Gretsinger and Fairchild
radio host Deborah Moore. Debra and Kathryn asked me about the origins of
Gung Haggis Fat Choy. Debra even asked what I was wearing under the
kilt! True to the code, I dinna gie her a straight answer! “We'll go
for a wee walk after the show,” I told her…

I brought Gung Haggis Wun-tun and spring rolls as an offering to
these queens of afternoon radio. And I brought along my accordion and
new friend Heather Pawsey. Heather is an accomplished classical soprano
singer who regularly appears with the Vancouver Opera and will be the
lead principle in the Feburary production of the Burnaby Lyric Opera.
While Heather was raised on a steady diet of Burns dinners since she
was a little girl, she has recently been singing in mandarin and has
developed a real appreciation for Chinese music and culture. There is
nobody better that I could think of to bring to the special Chinese New
Year programming day for CBC and Fairchild Radio at Aberdeen Mall in
Richmond BC.

After dropping Heather off back in Vancouver so she could prepare
for her evening gig at the Pan Pacific doing “Opera Nights,” I had
dinner with my girlfriend and her parents – visiting from Vernon BC.
This is what they had to say about it:

“I like it,” says Pat Martin, “Loved the blend of cultures… I
liked the music. I love the idea of dinner tomorrow. I love the idea of
watching the dinner show tomorrow and I can hardly wait to see who is
on. Waiting for lots of laughs.”

“I enjoyed the show thoroughly,” said her husband Bill Martin, who
is looking forward to having haggis at the dinner, and wants to take
some home to friends in Vernon. We watched for all the credits for our
friends and family.After the show was over, my girlfriend gave me a big
hug. She is very proud of me.

Good Haggis morning on Global News

“Good Morning Toddish!” called out Zach from the Global morning news show as Gung Haggis Wun-tun made it's way to the set of the morning Global News today. 

Lynn Collar called me up yesterday to invite me onto the set.  I sat next to Lynn and Steve, and they asked me lots of questions about the fundraiser dinner we call Gung Haggis Fat Choy!  Sara Daniels was very very taken with the phrase, saying I should trademark it (already in process!).

This was the first time I had ever been on a morning television news show.  It is so much more frenetically fast-paced than doing Urban Rush, City Cooks or when the CBC National News reporter Leanne Haven actually came up to my home to interview me. 

Two minutes… not 5 or 15.  Two minutes.  I blurted out all the important things like Dinner at Flamingo Restaurant… Television Special on CBC tonight at 7:30pm…  I first wore the tartan kilt up at Simon Fraser University… This is good for multiculturalism… 

But… everybody really liked the haggis wun-tun!!!  Sara Daniels became a quick fan.  Sophie Lui tried it.  Dana Gee tried it.  Zach called down from his location shoot in the parking lot to save him some haggis wun-tun.

What a rush… literally… this morning…  To ensure that the haggis wun-tun was cooked fresh this morning.  I went to the Slocan Restaurant on Hastings and Slocan in East Vancouver.   It took some convincing of the Filipina waitress to let me speak to the cook.  The cook/owner Gus is actually a Greek-Canadian and he was so nice to put my haggis wun-tun and spring rolls in his deep fryer for me. He didn't know exactly what haggis wun-tun was… but he bought my story about having to be on tv in 40 minutes. And he was very interested when I told them that George Stephanapolous, a Greek Canadian from Montreal, would be featured on the tv special Gung Haggis Fat Choy tonight on CBC at 7:30pm.

While I immediately told Lynn and Steve that the wun-tuns were just cooked by a Greek Canadian – unfortunately, I forgot to mention Gus and his Slocan Restaurant on tv. Sorry Gus – I will mention it on CBC radio this afternoon!


Vancouver Sun relishes Gung Haggis Wun-Tun!!!

Read Mia Stainsby in today's Vancouver Sun, Wednesday, January 21,
2004.  We made the top banner + the front page of Arts and Living
on page C1.  The picture was taken by my friend Don
Montgomery.  Check out: (Here's the PDF of Mia's story)

Mia focusses on fusion cuisine.  The Haggis Wun-Tun is really making the rounds and capturing people's attention.

Have a taste of 2004
Umami foods are savoury, pungent, delicious and meaty
Mia Stainsby
Vancouver Sun
Linda Meinhardt's hot chocolate is the new 'in' beverage.
CREDIT: Ward Perrin, Vancouver Sun
Rob Clark of C restaurant shops for the freshest ingredients, such as this halibut.
CREDIT: Ward Perrin, Vancouver Sun
Todd Wong pioneered Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year.
CREDIT: Ward Perrin, Vancouver Sun

This is the year of umami, a taste you probably didn't know you had.
It forms a pentagon of taste along with sweet, salty, bitter and sour.
Umami has been a seamless part of Asian cooking and has been present in
western cuisine, too, only it's been nameless.

Scientists at the University of Miami recently pinpointed umami
taste receptors on our tongues, making it legit in the West.
Translations of the word umami from Japanese have included savoury,
essence, pungent, delicious and meaty. A direct translation is
“delicious (umai) essence (mi).”

In science-speak, umami foods are rich in glutamic acid and
nucleotides. In food-speak, they include cheeses, aged beef, soy sauce,
green tea, fresh tomato juice, sun-dried tomatoes, peas, dried
shiitake, rich red wines and beers, Asian fish sauces, condiments.
Dried, cured, aged and fermented foods are umami mines.

Describing umami in Wine Spectator magazine, Shirley Corriher, a
food science maven, could only say: “It makes the taste receptors go
'ding-ding' in our brain and say 'this is good.' “

Not surprisingly, the Japanese scientist who first discovered and named it in 1907 also created monosodium glutamate (MSG).

The theory is, umami makes us crave protein, just as our sweet
receptors dream of carbohydrates and salt receptors cry for salt and
minerals. As the new year dawns, a restaurant called Umami just opened
on Davie Street, offering a fusion of Japanese and Mediterranean
cuisines and loads of umami potential.

This is the year when you'll hear someone sip some red wine or take
a bite of Saltspring Island cheese and say: “Mmmm. Such umami!” And the
year when we begin to expand knowledge of how taste works, how salt
improves dessert (add it to cake and it lessens the sweetness but gives
it a more complex and enhanced finish) or how a tiny bit of bitterness
— such as from bitter orange, coffee or chocolate — makes a sweet
dessert less cloying.

As passé as it may seem, fusion remains the soul of food in
Vancouver. Cuisines continue to co-mingle and canoodle, forming unique
edible tableaus of this fascinating city.

Take, for instance, Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year.
It sounds like a Monty Python skit but it is, frankly, the natural
evolution of Todd Wong's life. His fifth-generation Vancouver family is
a mix of many races. He used to cook for his non-Chinese friends on
Chinese New Year and seven years ago, they decided to celebrate Robbie
Burns Day and Chinese New Year in a grand-slam event. It was a riotous
party involving a 12-course Chinese banquet, Scottish kilts, bagpipes,
songs, highland dancing and haggis with plum or sweet and sour sauce.
The event is now open to the public.

This year, they introduce what's probably a world first: the haggis
won ton. Who in their right mind would have thought of it previously?

“The Chinese cooks from Flamingo restaurant are working on it right
now,” says Wong. “We're going to wrap the haggis in won ton wrappers
and deep fry it and serve it with a special sauce. They'll be
bite-size. I think it should fit in very well with dim sum lunch, too,
which literally, means pieces of the heart.” Haggis, as any Scot would
know, contains lamb heart as well as lamb liver, onions, and oatmeal,
stuffed in sheep's stomach.

“Taste-tested by some of the best Scottish and Chinese clan chefs,
it was declared the 12th wonder of the world,” Wong jests. (Toddish
McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner will take place Jan. 24
and 25 at Flamingo Restaurant. For information, call 604-987-7124 or go

Alongside this meta-cuisine, the cult of micro-cuisine is also
heating up. Chefs like Rob Clark of C restaurant hunt for cooking
ingredients with smart-bomb precision, as close to home as possible.
“I'm very conscious of where food comes from. Personally, I've gone
from worrying about how I put food on the plate, all sexy and fancy, to
spending most of my energy on how I get the food to the plate, sourcing
quality environmentally friendly organic foods. It's so ironic but
quality is closely connected, like a Siamese twin, to sustainability.”

Clark works with individual fishers — the tuna fisher, the sable
fisher, the salmon fisher, the sardine and scallop fisher; they all
pass his quality test. The same applies to his hunt for perfect
produce. He knows the farmers who specialize in different fruits and
vegetables. His cheeses are from Poplar Grove in the Okanagan, David
Wood on Saltspring and Moonstruck, also on Saltspring.

And all this talk about food quality bolts nicely into the slow food
movement, which, contrary to its name, sprints along, gathering speed
and advocates. In the U.S., the movement, which celebrates quality
foods, artisanal producers, traditional and regional methods of
cookery, has grown twenty-fold in the U.S. in the past three years. It
blows a raspberry to homogenized, industrialized, technologized,
mass-produced foods.

Slow food keeners in B.C. have much to celebrate with our wines,
cheeses, chocolates, heirloom produce, organically grown meats and
poultry. I draw the line, though, at fireplace cooking. For the
purists, there are now fireplaces with where you can hang a pot of
simmering soup or stew. Uh-unh!

And that brings us to farmers' markets, where the true slow foodie
would shop; they're getting more and more successful each year.

Wild salmon will be in high demand. Some restaurants played up their
“I Switch” move to wild salmon in the past year. Margaret Chisholm,
executive chef at Culinary Capers Catering, has switched. “I feel like
finally, we've reached the critical mass that's required for people to
accept the additional cost. It's gone over very well and it's related
to the slow food movement.”

She predicts Spanish-meets-Moroccan-meets-Tunisian food will be big.
“We've got a long way to go in terms of recognizing the potential in
spices — cinnamon, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, saffron, mint and lots
of others. These countries appreciate vegetables in a way that's
different from the French and Italians. Vegetables play an important

In the restaurant industry, the tapas trend still has legs,
especially when it comes to Japanese restaurants, a welcome change from
the carbon-copy Japanese restaurants of previous decades.

The low-carb craze, the Sherman tank of all food trends, will ramp
up even more, with low-carb replacement foods coming at us from every
direction — chocolate, pastas, baked goods, beer, wine. As long as the
pounds keep dropping, the low-carb business will be fertile with ideas.
Restaurants are hopping on the bandwagon one by one.

There's also the idea of “metro” food, a syncopation of refined
urban and retro comfort food. Here in Vancouver, it's epitomized by Rob
Feenie (the prince of culinary posh), who put Feenie's Weenie, a
gourmet hot dog, on the menu at Feenie's, right alongside shepherd's
pie made with duck confit, great burgers with great fries, and, if you
wish, foie gras.

In trend-setting New York, the big boys of haute cuisine, like Alain
Ducasse, has succumbed to macaroni and cheese; Daniel Boulud serves a
$50 US burger; Alan Miguel Kaplan at Salon Mexico played Henry Higgins
to the burrito, glamourizing it with filet mignon and truffle burritos
and charging $45 for it.

Meanwhile, our high-velocity lifestyles have spawned sophisticated
fast-food outlets. Rangoli, Vikram Vij's swish deli-style Indian
eatery, set to open any day, is but one. Linda Meinhardt, of Meinhardt
Fine Foods, opened Picnic; Mad About Food on Fourth Avenue and Home
Plate on Arbutus also cater to hurried middle-class lifestyles; Sean
Heather of the Irish Heather opened Salty Tongue next to his popular
Gastown eatery with take-away for hurried nearby condo dwellers (pay no
heed to carbs and try his delicious soda bread). Is Feenie's Take-Out
or Drive-Through next?

Mints might take a skyrocket this year, if only because Esquire and
Vogue magazines both carried articles on them. And pomegranates, too,
since studies have shown they contain natural estrogens and are a great
source of antioxidants. Style, O, Time and Saveur magazines chimed
their approval (despite the fact you'd have to eat 700 to 800 a day for
the estrogen benefits).

I think consumers are now aware of fair-trade coffee, enough to
consider buying from companies such as Vancouver-based Origins, which
sells nothing but fair-trade beans. The concern of the fair-trade
movement is to ensure that poor farmers are paid a fair price for their
harvests and that they are produced under fair labour conditions.

And on a northerly note, Scandinavian foods might enjoy a spotlit
moment thanks to award-winning wunder-chef Marcus Samuelsson of the
acclaimed Aquavit restaurant in New York. He recently published
Aquavit, a ravishing cookbook, showing Swedish food to be chic and
glamorous — more molten foie gras ganache with truffle ice cream than
herrings and lingonberries.

Chocolate has really gone crazy thanks to availability of quality
chocolate. Hot chocolate has become the “it” New York beverage — and
so we will follow. Meinhardt, at Picnic, serves a classy hot chocolate,
replicating her favourite from Angelina's in Paris.

Cindy Evetts of the Tools and Techniques kitchen store in West
Vancouver adds smoked paprika to the foods to watch for. “It just
boggles my mind how many people are experimenting with it,” she says.
Spaghetti sauce, for instance, can be vamped up with it.

And the home cook now loves demi-glace (a rich meat stock) as it's
available at places like the Soup Meister at Lonsdale Quay. “A couple
of tablespoons of demi would be transcending in shepherd's pie,” Evetts

At her store, silicon-based kitchen items are big. She sells pastry
brushes, baking tins, oven mitts and baking mats made from the durable
heat-resistant material. “It's so easy to clean, you don't have to
grease the cookie sheets or baking pans. If you get goo on the baking
mitts, just wash it off in five seconds. It really makes life a lot
less complicated in the kitchen.”

Just remember, trends are not law. Some are ideas whose time has
come. Some are confection and fashion made to evaporate. Buy the
fair-trade coffee and the B.C. cheese, but you'll still make the hip
list without pomegranates and mints.

– – –


Looking for a recipe from past issues of The Vancouver Sun? Recipes
from 1987 to the present are now available through INFOLINE. Call
604-605-2607 or send e-mail to Search fees
apply. Recipes will be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to you.

© Copyright 2004 Vancouver Sun

We made Malcolm Parry's column in Saturday's Vancouver Sun!

Wow… we are making the Arts and Cultural Society pages now.  Jim Wong-Chu is president of ACWW, and my arts and cultural mentor.  He has been instrumental in helping to guide Gung Haggis Fat Choy from the first fundraiser dinner in 1999.

From Malcolm Perry's Vancouver Sun column, Saturday, January 17, 2004)

JIM WONG-CHU, the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop sparkplug, says the Robbie Burns Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner and concert is such a hit, it'll run two nights this year — Jan. 24 and 25 — to benefit ACWW and the Gung Haggis Dragon Boat Team.

Sino-Caledonian gourmets may relish a new dish: deep-fried haggis won tons. No word on the traditional accompanying bashed neeps (mashed turnips).

More at or 604-987-7124.

City TV features Gung Haggis Wun-Tun etc on City Cooks

CityCooks did a taping for Gung Haggis Fat Choy today. It will air on January 22, Thursday – actual Chinese New Year Day. Flamingo Restaurant owner and manager Joseph Lee did the cooking. He proved his ability to perform under pressure, particularly when CITY Cooks producer Manual Fonseca asked him to come up with a third dish at only 3pm yesterday – less than 20 hours before we would appear in the CITY studios.

Joseph appeared on CITY cooks with me last year. Normally he is never in the kitchen, as his main role is as Manager for Flamingo House Chinese Restaruant on Cambie St. But Joseph was present when the Flamingo on Fraser St. prepared the Gung Haggis Wun-tun and Spring Rolls on Monday evening in preparation for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Poetry Night. Joseph altered the recipes slightly so that they could be more easily prepared at home.

CITY Cooks host Simi Sara really seemed to enjoy the blend of Chinese Haggis Fusion cooking happening on the set. Last year, she managed to avoid tasting haggis with plum sauce but this time around she actually tried eating the haggis spring rolls and stuffed tofu. “It's quite good!” she exclaimed. After the taping was over, the production crew swarmed the set and quickly devoured the haggis-stuffed tofu, haggis wun-tun and haggis spring rolls.

more interesting news…

CBC National News left a phone message for me to call them… Gung Haggis Fat Choy may be going national again in the media – but this time on tv!