Cultural fusion done right: 15th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner January 22

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner is a culture-bending event celebrating Chinese-Canadian and Scottish-Canadian heritage, and arguably one of Vancouver’s most creative parties. Invented by a Vancouverite, the legendary dinner takes place January 22 at Floata Restaurant.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy combines two holidays: Chinese New Year (January 23) and Robbie Burns Day, the 253rd birthday of Scottish national poet Robert Burns (born January 25, 1759).

The result is riotous fusion fun. Floata’s menu sports fusion delicacies like deep-fried haggis won tons and neeps (mashed potatoes and swede with nutmeg) served dim sum style. Entertainment entails Robbie Burns poetry set to Elvis and and tongue-in-cheek singalongs to “My Chow Mein (Bonny) Lies Over the Ocean.”

Find out more about tickets and the full program below.


Gung Haggis Fat Choy started back in 1998 when Vancouverite Toddish McWong (Todd Wong) held a private dinner for 16 friends with food, haggis, poetry and songs from both Scottish and Chinese cultures. In his own words, the event “acknowledges historical racism and how we move beyond it” creating something uniquely Canadian.

The idea (as you would expect) was wildly popular and as of 2012, the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner is a 400-person, ticketed event. It’s also imitated throughout North America.


The dinner party hosts will be TV personality Tetsuro Shigematsu, newly-announced Parliamentary Poet Laureate Fred Wah and scholar Dr. Jan Walls.

Entertainment ranges from bagpipes and drums to the poetry of Robert Burns read to a diverse cacophony of accompaniments like the hip-hop beat of Chinese bamboo clappers and Elvis tunes.

What to wear:

Todd Wong says: “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 ideal guest would pair a Chinese jacket or top with a kilt.


Tickets for the 15th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner are still available online from Fire Hall Arts Centre. Single tickets are $65, student tickets are $50 and children are $40 + service charge. Proceeds of the dinner go to Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop/Ricepaper Magazine and Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

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