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My optimistic Chinese tour guide admitted the truth: “The economy here isn’t spectacular right now . . . but at least beer consumption is up!” Indeed, this passes as an encouraging economic indicator in Qingdao, China, home of the world-famous Tsingtao Brewery since 1903. Before I could knock back my first pint of unfiltered Tsing, however, I was obligated to spend 27 hours in transit via Cathay Pacific (New York to Vancouver to Hong Kong) and Dragonair (Hong Kong to Qingdao) – definitely not a bad way to go, especially if one measures trip progress in meals rather than miles. Photos of Cathay Pacific's mouthwatering mid-air meals after the jump.

Caesar salad with marinated prawns (somewhere over Ontario, Canada)

Kong Po chicken with egg fried rice and kailan (somewhere over Alberta, Canada)

Braised beef brisket in noodle soup (somewhere over Alaska)

Fresh seasonal fruit (just past the International Date Line)

Assorted Chinese dim sum with chili sauce (somewhere over Japan)

Almost there . . .

Mission accomplished!

OK, full disclosure: These are all business class meals, but coach class also offers better-than-average fare (or so I've heard). By the way, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair are members of the One World alliance, which is offering 10% off all bookings made now through April 12 on any of its ten member airlines. Visit ShermansTravel.com for more Asia flight deals

This week: Stay tuned for more updates from Qingdao (trust me, it's not just about the beer). I'll also be checking out Hong Kong's new and noteworthy hotels, restaurants, shops, and art galleries this Thursday through Saturday.

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