Szechuan sauce, the cult condiment for ‘Rick and Morty’ fans, returns to McDonald’s

Last week, McDonald’s published a cryptic message Tweeter, “You should text me about the next drop of sauce.” Below the caption was a graphic with the phone number 707-932-4826.

People who sent the number received a photo of a box of sauce packets covered in gold foil. When lined up in the correct order, they spelled the word “Szechuan”. (Observant Internet sleuths also pointed out that the phone number spelled 70S-ZEC-HUAN.)

On Monday, the fast-food giant made it official, announcing via a press release and social media posts that Szechuan Sauce would return on March 31.

“hi from Szechuan Sauce, say it back,” McDonald’s tweeted.

Related: How McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce Went From ‘Very Good’ ’90s Relic To Cult Riot Condiment

Szechuan Sauce was originally released in 1998 as a promotional tie-in to the Disney movie “Mulan.” It was a dark brown nugget sauce with a touch of acid from the addition of apple cider vinegar and a little nuttiness from the roasted sesame oil. This set it apart from the chain’s OG Sweet and Sour McNuggets dip.

It was a fine condiment but modest enough that there wasn’t much uproar when the chain pulled it from its franchises after the month-long promotion. For nearly two decades, Szechuan sauce was simply a relic of McDonald’s past, like McPizza or McSalad Shakers. Then the third season of the adult animated show “Rick and Morty” debuted in April 2017.

In the first episode, “The Rickshank Redemption”, one of the series’ main protagonists, Rick Sanchez, revisits a memory of going to a McDonald’s drive-thru and ordering Chicken McNuggets with Szechuan sauce. At the end of the episode, Rick reveals that his sole purpose in life is to find more sauce. He’s not motivated to save the world or his family, or else, anything other than “that McNugget sauce. I want that ‘Mulan’ McNugget sauce, Morty. This is my series arc, Morty! If it takes nine seasons!”

Viewers of the show, who had a cult of their own, began asking McDonald’s to bring back the sauce. McDonald’s recognized fans by sending ‘Ricky and Morty’ creator Justin Roiland a four-pound pitcher of Szechuan sauce found in “Dimension C-1998 . . . a dimension where it’s always 1998. 1998 everyday. No smartphones, no social media. It’s a weird and scary place. But they have Szechuan sauce at the regular menu.”

Finally, in October 2017, the chain decided to do a one-day promotion focused on the sauce – and it was an absolute disaster. There were riots, an alleged stabbing and lots of angry customers. You can read more about this in the Salon Food archives.

A few months later, to rectify the situation, McDonald’s relaunched the sauce, with approximately 20 million servings distributed across the United States. eventually removed from the chain’s menu offerings.

When it returns on March 31, it will only be the fourth time Szechuan sauce has been available in McDonald’s history. Will it be better to go around? Who’s to say – though I’m sure Ebay sauce collectors will start lining up early.

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