McDonald's goes Asian with noodles... in Austria

Fast food chain McDonald's is branching out: after salads and wraps, the burger restaurant is entering the noodle business.

From September 20, the chain will add Asian noodle boxes -- "McNoodles" -- to its menu, but only in Austria and only for a two- or three-month trial period.

"They could theoretically become a fixed item one day," McDonald's Austria spokeswoman Ursula Riegler said.

This world premiere follows another Asian trend recently adopted by McDonald's in the alpine country: bubble tea, originally a milky black tea with tapioca balls drunk through a wide straw, now also available in other flavours.

The Asian trend has taken Austria by storm in the last 12 months, with new bubble tea shops springing up almost on a weekly basis in Vienna.

Asian-style stir-fried noodles, eaten out of a cardboard box with chopsticks, have also emerged as a strong competitor to Austria's beloved sausage stands, known here as Wuerstelstand, with some outlets now even combining the two snacks: fried noodles topped with sliced Bratwurst.

While bubble tea is also sold at McDonald's restaurants in neighbouring Germany, the McNoodles will debut only in Austria.

The idea was developed by the fast food chain's Austrian section to respond to the recent popularity of Asian food in the small country, Riegler told AFP.

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