Gung Haggis Fat Choy is one unique event where you can catch poetry and Kung Fu, highland dancers performing with sheng players, and delicious deep-fried haggis dumplings. It’s an annual Vancouver tradition that combines Chinese New Year with Robbie Burns Day in a single event.
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner
- Date: January 22, 2012 (Chinese New Year’s Eve)
- Time: 5:00pm (doors) 6:00pm (dinner)
- Where: Floata Restaurant at #400 – 180 Keefer St, Vancouver
- What: An 8-course Scottish/Chinese banquet dinner complete with entertainment
Tickets are available through the Firehall Arts Centre box office, online or by phone (604) 689-0926. They are $65 regular admission, $50 student, $40 children. You can also book a table of 10 for $625. Service fees apply to each ticket price.
- Hosts: TV and radio host Tetsuro Shigematsu, Parliamentary Poet Laureate Fred Wah, and scholar Dr. Jan Walls.
- What to Wear: Kilts and tartans, as well as Chinese jackets and cheong-sam dresses are preferred. But our guests are dressed both formal and casual – be comfortable, be outrageous, be yourself.
- The Dinner: Appetizers will arrive at the tables by 6:00pm and soon after, the dinner formalities begin. From then on a new dish will appear somewhere around 15 minutes, quickly followed by a co-host introducing a poet or musical performer.
- Finale: The evening will wrap up somewhere between 9:00pm and 9:30pm, with the singing of Auld Lang Syne. They start with a verse in Mandarin Chinese, then sing in English or Scottish. Participants can socialize further until 10:00pm.
- Read the full list: What to Expect at the 2012 Dinner.
The dinner is a primary fundraiser for the the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team.
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy concept is the brainchild of Toddish McWong aka Todd Wong who came up with the idea after he was asked to help out with SFU’s annual Robbert Burns Day celebration back in 1993. The name being a play on the Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year greeting, Gung Hay Fat Choy.
He, a 5th generation Canadian was learning about Scottish-Canadian culture with its strange traditions of men wearing skirt-like attire, carrying swords, playing funny sounding musical instruments and eating exotic foods. On top of that, the Chinese Lunar New Year fell on January 27th only two days away from Robbie Burns Day, which is always January 25th in celebration of the Scottish Bard’s birthday. “Gung Haggis Fat Choy!” said Wong, “I can celebrate two cultures at the same time.” And thus was born the persona of Toddish McWong with his growing appreciation of Scottish Canadian history and culture. – Who is Toddish McWong?
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner officially began in 1998 and since that time it has expanded throughout the Pacific Northwest and onto Vancouver Island (Victoria’s event is January 28th this year). In 2005, the dinner moved to the largest Chinese Restaurant in North America at the time (Floata) and has since been attended by Mayors, MLAs, and celebrities. Todd Wong also received the 2008 BC Community Achievement Award, presented by the Premier, “for his devotion to community service, building bridges and cross-cultural understanding, and acknowledged as the creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy.”
Thanks to Toddish McWong, this harmonious cultural mix celebrates the true essence of Vancouver each year.