‘Rick and Morty’ and the McDonald’s Szechuan debacle


Rick Sanchez at a 1998 McDonald’s drive-thru in “The Rickshank Redemption”

Chris Prenatt, Contributing Writer

Who would’ve guessed that a TV show would make people care so much for sauce?

That’s what Rick and Morty, a popular series on Adult Swim, did.

In the long awaited season 3 premiere, “The Rickshank Redemption,” it is revealed that Rick Sanchez’s mission for all of his scientific antics had one goal in mind: McDonald’s Szechuan dipping sauce for promotion of the 1998 Disney film, Mulan.

According to Rick, it is the most delicious thing ever made.

“In 1998, [McDonald’s] had this promotion for the Disney film Mulan, where they created a new sauce for the McNuggets called Szechuan sauce, and it’s delicious,” Sanchez says in the newest episode, “And they got rid of it and now it’s gone.”

After the episode aired, there was an outcry on social media by fans interrogating about the sauce.

McDonald’s did end up answering a few tweets, even going so far as to paraphrase the show.  These responses inspired a little bit of hope.

Mike Haracz, a corporate chef at McDonald’s responded to @McD_Truth’s tweet “We need one of the chef’s to take that [Szechuan sauce] recipe off the shelf. If we can give away Big Mac sauce bottles, we can do this!” Haracz then responded saying, “I’ll see what I can do.”

Pat Myers, the area supervisor for the western New York McDonald’s locations, remembers the sauce and the promotions during Mulan’s run at the restaurant. “We had [Szechuan sauce] for the oriental McNuggets. We had the [Mulan] toys for the Happy Meals and they had little coins with the nuggets.”

When asked about the sauce’s texture, Myers responded, “It was sorta like sweet and sour [sauce].”

In an interview with USA Today, McDonald’s spokesperson Terri Hickey said in a statement to the paper about revisiting the sauce, “We never say never because when our customers speak, we listen. And to paraphrase some of our most enthusiastic fans, our sauce is so good that it would be worth waiting 9 seasons or 97 years for,” referencing Rick’s rant at the end of the episode which he tells his grandson, Morty Smith,

The entire rant can be seen here:

The joke about the sauce grew so rapid that a change.org petition was made. At the time of this article, there are 34,943 supporters, just 57 short from the campaign’s goal of 35,000. The letter of the petition simply reads, “Please bring back McDonald’s chicken nugget Mulan Szechuan sauce!”

Things even went so far that one obsessed fan purchased the sauce on eBay for $14,700. The sauce, sold by mavericmedi_0 from Ipswich, UK, came with a pack of wasabi flavored sauce, as well.

However, asking for a sauce with ethnic origins has also spawned some backlash, as some view it disrespectful to Asian communities.

According to Inverse writer Yasmin Tayag, “Clamoring for the simultaneous release of Szechuan sauce and a film inspired by a sixth-century Chinese folktale is the same as asking for Mickey D’s to serve up a rich Hollandaise or Béarnaise in honor of the quintessentially French Beauty and the Beast.”

She goes on to connect the sauce to every slight against Asian Americans that has happened so far this year, saying “…the last thing Asian-Americans need is a sauce too obscure the diversity of their cultures in the same shade of faceless, nationless, Western-approved brown.”

Also inspiring hope is the fact that Disney’s latest live-action update in the works is a remake of Mulan.  Whether the writers of Rick and Morty were aware of this or not, it only adds to the possibility of seeing this sauce once again.