McDonald’s Szechuan sauce was only offered temporarily during a promotion for Mulan in the late 1990s. But thanks to the phenomenon that is Rick and Morty, thousands of people are now clamoring for Szechuan sauce and McDonald’s just might bring it back. We’ve gathered pretty much everything you could possibly want to know about this mystical, magical, mythical sauce — including a possible copycat recipe — and are including all the details below. (Note: This post has spoilers through the Rick and Morty Season 3 premiere.)
1. Szechuan Sauce Returned to the Public Eye Thanks to a ‘Rick and Morty’ Episode
This all got started when Rick and Morty‘s Season 3 premiere was released unexpectedly on April Fool’s. The end of the episode featured Rick telling Morty that he was doing everything pretty much because he wanted to taste that Szechuan sauce again.
And I’ll go and I’ll find some more of that Mulan Szechuan teriyaki dipping sauce Morty, because that’s what this is all about, Morty, that’s my one-armed man. I’m not driven by avenging my dead family, Morty, that was fake. I’m driven by finding that McNugget sauce. I want that Mulan McNugget sauce, Morty, that’s my series arc, Morty. If it takes nine seasons, I want my McNugget dipping sauce Szechuan sauce, Morty. That’s what’s going to take us all the way to the end, Morty. Season, nine more seasons Morty, nine more seasons until I get that dipping Szechuan sauce…”
Oh, and here’s Rick ordering the Szechuan sauce, because he could only try it in his memory:
2. Szechuan Sauce Was a Limited-Time Promotion in 1998, But a Chef from McDonald’s Is Looking Into All the Interest
Szechuan sauce was only around for a limited time. It was part of a Mulan promotion from McDonald’s in 1998. Here’s a commercial for it in the video above. Here are some more commercials from the Mulan promotion, even if they don’t specifically mention the sauce:
It didn’t take McDonald’s long to respond to all the attention their sauce was getting on the Internet:
Fans thought that there was little chance McDonald’s would bring back that delicious sauce, since McDonald’s no longer works with Disney. Even though a live-action Mulan is premiering in 2018, the chances of a promotion seemed slim. Back in 2006, Disney’s promotional agreement with McDonald’s ended. Disney had a cross-promotional deal with McDonald’s that included having figurines from its movies in McDonald’s Happy Meals. But Disney ended that deal, stating that part of the reason was because the company wanted to distance itself from fast food and its link to childhood obesity.
But dreams of Szechuan may not be over. A corporate chef from McDonald’s, Mike Haracz, tweeted that he will “see what I can do” about bringing the recipe back:
This tweet came from his personal account and it was not an official statement from McDonald’s. But at least it’s nice to know that someone working there is looking into the whole thing.
3. Tens of Thousands of Fans Are Signing Petitions to Bring Back the Szechuan Sauce
After Rick and Morty premiered, an enterprising fan started a petition to bring back the Szechuan sauce. It’s on Change.org here. So far, 23,310 people have signed the petition. This actually isn’t the only petition about it on Change.org. A quick search reveals 10 petitions. The biggest petition is here with 26,445 signatures. And this one has 8,564 signatures.
4. You Can Try a Copycat Recipe to Experience It Yourself (Sort Of)
If you’re desperate to try the sauce before nine seasons are over, consider trying a copycat recipe. Here’s one attempt below, by someone who was too young when the Szechuan sauce was released to know what it tastes like:
No one knows what recipe would be the perfect copycat, but a lot of people are trying. According to Food.com, you can make a Szechuan sauce by combining dry sherry, ginger, garlic cloves, red pepper, chicken broth, corn starch, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and sugar.
5. A Picture of Szechuan Sauce Is Selling for $12,000 on eBay
Back in the day, the Szechuan sauce was loved by people who reviewed it. So all this hype may not just be “hype.” In this post from eight years ago, one person notes that the limited edition Mulan sauce was “godlike.”
Others, however, disagree. One Redditor said the Szechuan sauce was too “salty sweet.” And meanwhile, more suspicious people are wondering if this was a product placement that worked really, really well.
If you want to try it yourself, don’t go to ebay. Deceptive auctions look like they’re selling the dipping sauce, but they’re actually selling photos of the sauce. We have no idea if the bids on this one are real or fake, but one person named trainer_bob is selling a printed picture of the dipping sauce and has gotten 23 bids, reaching more than $12,000 total. He wrote, “…clearly a fun joke listing but if you win You’ll receive a printed picture of this nugget being dipped in that delicious … sauce!”
The bids jumped from $21 up to $1,000 and then from $1,000 up to $9,998. Other listings on ebay aren’t faring as well.