McDonald's is officially bringing back its fabled Szechuan Sauce, but it may be hard to get your hands on. The dipping sauce made famous by Rick and Morty is available in limited quantities starting on Wednesday, March 4 in participating restaurants. Sadly, the promotion is only available in New Zealand so far.
McDonald's made public announcements on Monday, letting New Zealand residents know that the Szechuan Sauce was coming their way. The chain warned that the sauce came in extremely limited quantities, and would only be available at select times. Participating restaurants will serve the sauce packets between 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. local time, and only while supplies last.
McDonald's warned that only one out of every 25 New Zealanders would likely get the chance to try the sauce. This left locals anxious, not to mention international customers. Reporters from CNET reached out to representatives for the chain's other branches and came up empty-handed.
New Zealand's neighbor, McDonald's Australia, said that there are "no current plans for" a Szechuan Sauce promotion there. Representatives for the U.S. branch of the chain did not respond immediately.
McDonald's Szechuan Sauce is an obscure promotional condiment going back to 1998, when Disney released its animated feature Mulan. With the live-action remake of the movie coming soon, it makes sense that the company would want to bring the promotion back. However, these days Szechuan Sauce is more closely related to Rick and Morty than to Mulan.
Back in 2017, the premiere episode of Rick and Morty Season 3 made Szechuan Sauce a lateral punchline in the beginning and end of the story. It inspired hordes of fans to bombard McDonald's on social media asking to bring back the sauce, and eventually the chain complied.
However, the re-launch did not go over as planned, largely due to extreme shortages of the product. According to a report by Vox, there was near-rioting when fans lined up for hours yet did not get their hands on the fast food sauce. The company apologized and promised to try again at a later date.
The event soured many fans on the idea, however. Culture critics remarked on the "toxic" level of fandom on display here, and Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon denounced those fans rioting fans on his podcast, Harmontown.
Vox noted that the 2017 Szechuan Sauce revival was not even an official Rick and Morty tie-in, though it had some permissable imagery involved. This time around, McDonald's New Zealand made one post that seemed to reference Rick and Morty with a green portal, according to CNET, but it has since been deleted.
To cap it all off, the creation and marketing of the Szechuan Sauce itself has long been denounced as racist by some. In 1998, Cornell University's Paul Leung told Entertainment Weekly: "You don't even have to be Chinese to be offended" by the promotion.
There is no word yet on if or when the Szechuan Sauce may make its way to McDonald's restaurants in the U.S.