Szechuan sauce over hyped?
By Sarah Holt
America has gone nuts for Szechuan sauce. To understand why, you have to go back to the 1990s.
On June 19, 1998, The Walt Disney Company launched its animated feature film Mulan. The plot is depicted on the Internet Movie Database as follows" "To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China's greatest heroines in the process."
To coincide with the release of the film, McDonald's released a new limited-edition condiment, Szechuan teriyaki dipping sauce. The sauce was served as part of a Happy Meal combo with chicken nuggets and a Mulan-inspired toy. There were eight to collect.
After the promotion, the sauce was removed from all McDonald's restaurants and the average fast food consumer forgot all about the condiment.
However, back in the 21st century, the creators of a cult adult animated science fiction show called Rick and Morty decided to name-check the sauce in an episode.
According to USA Today, protagonist and genius scientist Rick Sanchez has been imprisoned and an alien has entered Rick's thoughts and memories. While Sanchez and the alien have a chat, Rick reveals he loved the sauce, and later rants to his grandson Morty that his plan to get his hands on Szechuan Sauce once again.
After this episode, the creators of Rick and Morty kept dropping in references to the sauce until, as website Cinema Blend explains, it became "the unofficial mascot for Season 3".
Due to this, fans of the show began to petition McDonald's to bring back the sauce.
On October 2, McDonald's announced that it would brig back the sauce for a single day. According to NME the statement read: "After nearly 20 years (and perhaps a bit of time travel) we’re even doing the impossible. On Oct 7 we’re giving away a one-time only, limited-edition, run of Szechuan Sauce in select restaurants. And when we say limited, we mean really, really limited!"
Rick and Morty fans flocked to McDonald's restaurants from far and wide. The Hollywood Reporter explained: "In Los Angeles, fans numbering in the hundreds dressed in Rick and Morty apparel lined up around the block at a La Brea McDonald's location, hoping to get a packet of the sauce. Some die-hard Rick and Morty enthusiasts even camped out the night before to assure a prime location in line."
Some of the first customers to get their hands on the sauce put their packets on eBay. Business Insider ran an article explaining how the condiment was selling for as much as $200 on the online auction website.
Unfortunately, many stores did not have enough sauce to satisfy all customers and discontent ensued. The Guardian reported: "The failure to provide enough special edition Szechuan dipping sauce has led to chaotic scenes at fast food outlets across America."
Since the chaos, McDonald's has announced that it will bring the sauce back for a second time. But is this product really worth it? Is it really such a taste sensation, or will it disappoint when people finally get to try it for the first time?