Friday, August 21, 2009

Imperial Feast at Tao Heung, Mong Kok - Loving Custom White Balance

I find taking pictures in restaurants is extra challenging. If it's not too dark (experimenting with manual mode, which is still so alien to me), like most of the shots in this post...then the color is not right, just like below picture.

Previously, I always set my white balance to "Auto" no matter what. I don't care if the sun's shining, the birds are chirping, the cloud's clouding, the storm is storming...Auto White Balance it is. Under natural sunlight, normally the pictures turned out pretty great, but indoors...acckkk!!!!...most of the time the pictures turn yellowish, or even orangey, just like the above shot. Just peachy, innit?

I have tried using custom white balance before, using plates, napkins, normal A4 paper, or anything that's white. However, the results were terrible...the pictures were either too blue or too green. Ew. Nobody fancies a blue chicken, right?

So I went back to my favorite "auto" setting, until I found a new dining out pal, my gray card.
I am sure you can make a homemade-cheap-or-even-free version of it, but I couldn't be bothered. My frustration level was just too high, I snatched the thing right off its shelf when I saw it (a small one is sold at HK$38). To use, I simply take a shot where the card fills my viewfinder, use it to set custom white balance, and that's it. All the plates and tablecloths in the restaurant aren't are no longer peachy, unless they intend to be.

Where did my gray card go this time? It went royal.

Imperial Feast at Tao Heung Restaurant, Mong Kok

In Hong Kong, we love our good deals (Hey! Who doesn't?). Value meals, set dinners, family packages, whatever you call it, we'll go for it. When we saw that there's a HK$998 (around USD128) Imperial Feast Menu for 12, involving some delicacies such as shark's fin and abalone...even though there were only 8 of us, we instantly went for it. The feast includes...

A Platter of Assorted Roasted Meat. It has roasted suckling pig, BBQ pork, roasted chicken, marinated beef shin and cold jellyfish. Yum!

Followed by sharks fin soup. I am not crazy about the fins itself, but love the flavors of the braised soup. This particular soup has bamboo pith which added a wonderful crunch to the whole ensemble.

Love my soup with a touch of vinegar. Too bad they didn't serve this with freshly chopped corriander.

The lotus roots with golden coins (yes they made up super grand dish names sometimes), has large, succulent and super springy prawns, crunchy lotus roots, mushrooms and sugar snap peas, and my favorite...cashew nuts!

Steamed vegetables topped with braised dry scallops and mushrooms. I like my veggies soft, so these weren't soft enough for me, but I love the topping! Succulent straw mushrooms with tasty dried scallop and finely diced enoki mushrooms. They shredded the dried scallops pretty finely, so they don't get stuck between my teeth like they normally do.

Deep fried Shrimp Cake with Crab Roe. I love anything deep fried ^_^....

...but I especially love the bits of crab roe in this dish. Don't you just love it when they pop when you bite them?

Steamed garoupa topped with fragrant greens. Perfectly cooked, satiny smooth fish, with minimum bones. I am not fond of spitting out fish bones, or getting a fish bone stuck to my throat from laughing out loud while eating.

Braised Abalone with dried mushrooms. Love the texture of the abalone, tender with a bit of a spring.

Succulent! The flavors from the dried mushrooms could be a bit stronger, it was a little too mild for my taste.

Steamed chicken in spring onion scented oil. Honestly, I love sucking the brain outta the chicken head. Go ahead and judge me T_T

The much needed carbo, Chinese fried rice. Nobody does this better than good Chinese restaurants. The color might seem a little too pale, but it's bursting with flavors from all the bits and pieces in it.

The meal ended with longevity buns (birthday buns) and a platter of fresh fruits.

The sweet and fluffy buns were filled with rich lotus paste. Hot, freshly steamed. No matter how full we were, each of us could still take one of these babies.

Did the "greedy 8" manage to wipe all the plates clean? Fortunately and unfortunately, we weren't able to. Good news is, we brought home three boxes full of food. Hello, late night supper...

Catch the delicious promo while you can ^_^

My gray card and I will continue our adventure tonight. Another place, another feast, the same crisp white dinnerware.

Tao Heung Super 88
Shop B, 3/F, Grand Tower
639 Nathan Road, Mongkok, KLN
Busienss Hours: 7:00am - 12:00mn
Tel: +852 2390 0882


  1. oo.. how does the card looks like?

    hv to say it is really good value for the feast!

  2. What a cute menu! Being a meatloving girl, the plate of mixed roast meats whets my appetitie.

  3. Mouth-watering! I love a good full course Chinese dinner feast. So envy!

  4. Wow, that's around HK$125 per head for this Imperial Feast, what a bargain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, I'm gonna be in love with that deep fried shrimp cake with crab roe loh!

    Ur photos are always beautiful, no worries, look at mine! They suck! hahahaha

  5. Incredible food!

    I've got to find me one of those cards!

  6. OOHh I usually find chinese banquets to give you very average dishes but this looks pretty good! And great work with ur photos hee hee but you can do some post processing for the WB problem

  7. The delicious food makes my heas spin...lucky you!