On Monday, Feb. 26, McDonald’s rolled out, for the third time, Szechuan sauce. It was the second time the sauce returned in the past five months, after a botched execution in October. This time around, they successfully delivered the product to the legions of fans that wanted the sauce in the fall, but was it worth all the problems it caused?
What’s the big deal about the sauce anyway?
For select few fans, the sauce harkens back to the 1998 theatrical release of “Mulan.” As a promotional move, McDonald’s released the Szechuan sauce and Happy Meal toys to go along with the movie. The promotion did not last long and when it finished the sauce was gone for good, or so it seemed.
Fast forward nearly two decades, and the sauce popped back into pop culture. In the season three premiere of “Rick and Morty,” nihilistic main character Rick Sanchez confesses that his only motivation in the show is to get another taste of the sauce.
The show’s fans made the sauce a meme and pleaded with McDonald’s to bring back the sauce. McDonald’s obliged last October.
Oh geez, is this the thing that got everyone to riot at their McDonald’s?
Nonetheless, on Oct. 17, “Rick and Morty” fans lined up at McDonald’s locations across the nation to get the sauce. The demand was vastly greater than the supply, as some of the select stores received just 20 cups of sauce. Most received less, if any at all.
Police had to be called in some places, and others just had customers jump onto the counter and demand their sauce. McDonald’s employees were helpless.
So why bother bringing it back?
Well, you don’t jump a gift shark in the mouth. McDonald’s got a ton of free publicity from the show and needed to capitalize on it. While attempt number one was a failure, they employed Mr. Meeseeks and got the job done.
The announcement of the return was quieter this time around and came with a dedicated website, a three-part podcast outlining what went wrong in October, putting it in a good light, and 20 million cups of sauce available to all U.S. locations.
Was the sauce any good?
Is it worth trying out? Yes.
Like most things Ronald McDonald touches, it is salty and sweet. There is just enough taste to compliment the Crispy Buttermilk Tenders. The slight peppered seasoning in the breading of the tenders is complemented nicely by the sweetness of the sauce.
Szechuan sauce is not an explosion of flavor, however, but what do you expect from something not made from water, cesium and plutonic quarks?
Now, was it worth rioting over? Probably not. Was the sauce over-hyped? Absolutely.
Although, does any of this matter? No. This is obviously one of the infinite dimensions where the sauce is just good. There is an infinite number of other dimensions that didn’t get the sauce at all. So let’s not take this for granite.