McDonald's has taken rice off its menus in Hong Kong after an experiment in offering Asian-style dishes along with its usual fare of burgers and fries failed to win over diners. The US chain withdrew the two rice dishes it added to its menus just 18 months ago. The $22 dishes - grilled chicken with mushroom sauce and chicken cutlet with curry sauce - were launched as part of a region-wide initiative to broaden the appeal of McDonald's. The company, which has more than 200 Hong Kong outlets, said at the time it had decided to put rice on its menus because it was 'what our customers are asking for' and described the initial response as 'extremely positive'. McDonald's yesterday declined to comment on the reasons the rice dishes had been withdrawn, or even say exactly when it had happened. A spokeswoman implied the items were never intended to be a permanent item, saying: 'McDonald's launches different promotions at different times.' In Thailand, where rice dishes were added ahead of the Hong Kong launch, rice remains on the menu. Rice dishes are also still on McDonald's menus in Taiwan. The launch of the rice dishes in Hong Kong was seen at the time as a response to fierce competition in the fast-food market which saw Cafe De Coral and other outlets slash prices. The dynamic of the market has transformed, however, and McDonald's is now setting its sights on the city's escalating appetite for coffee shops by launching four new-style restaurants serving espresso coffee and 'gourmet' sandwiches. The restaurants - which opened last week - offer healthy snacks including a $24 green salad and a $29 crispy chicken salad, in addition to the usual McDonald's menu. They also offers speciality coffees ranging from $14 to $22 in the McCafe outlets in Cityplaza, Pacific Place, Tsuen Wan Market and Lok Fu.