US fastfood giant McDonald's has started to sell Chinese-style meals in its Hong Kong outlets.

Rather than sticking to the well-known burger and fries formula, the company has for some time been experimenting with new menu items designed to tempt local palates in the countries in which it operates.

Rice and chicken meals, retailing at HK$22 (US$2.80) first went on sale in McDonald's restaurants in Hong Kong last night [Monday]. "The rice menu fits seamlessly into the dietary habit of Hong Kong Chinese with rice as their staple food," the group said in a statement.

McDonald's has operated in Hong Kong for 27 years, but has found the going tough in recent years, as have other fastfood providers.

Hong Kong is labouring under its second recession in four years and has reported record unemployment. Restaurants have been cutting prices in a bid to entice consumers out of their homes, but McDonald's latest initiative may have greater success than price cuts. Most adults in Hong Kong prefer traditional Chinese dishes, although burgers are popular with youngsters. In this way, the chain is hoping to offer something for all the family.