Hey, you! Do you watch television? What about watching adult alternative animation? Have you ever heard of Adult Swim? And what about the show… Rick and Morty?
Well, if you’re reading this review, you definitely have. If you haven’t, Rick and Morty is a sci-fi cartoon show on Adult Swim that recently featured a discontinued McDonald’s promo sauce for the Disney movie Mulan:
Rick Sanchez, a dimension hopping ultra-genius, reveals his motive behind his erratic actions is simply to find more Mulan Szechuan dipping sauce. The mere mention of this supposedly delicious sauce set off legions of Rick and Morty fans, who began a campaign to demand McDonald’s bring the dipping sauce back.
Fortunately for them – and unfortunately for us – McDonald’s listened.
The sauce was brought back in limited quantities as a co-tie in for their new Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders. And when we say limited, we mean limited. It was only available at select restaurants, with most having less than 20 packs to give out. The fans were upset to the point of requiring police intervention at some areas.
Naturally, it was an enormous blunder for McDonald’s. But they pledged that the sauce would return in December of 2017, in quantities enough that all could enjoy the tangy Asian flavor.
Now, in February of 2018, the sauce is back. Points for trying, McDonald’s.
So, is the sauce good enough to riot over? Was it worth digging back into McDonald’s 1998 recipe box for? Was it even good enough to have been a plot point in an overly-popular cartoon? Find out after the cut.
No, it isn’t.
The sauce is a dark brown color, speckled with flecks of what we assumed were red pepper. It smelled almost identical to the typical McDonald’s Sweet and Sour sauce offering. Once we tasted it, it was practically indistinguishable.
Not to say that it’s identical. The Schezwan sauce has a very prominent ginger flavor. There was a strange bitter tang to it that we couldn’t place – and certainly no spiciness, nor the mythical tingle that real Sichuan pepper is supposed to provide.
We were baffled. We had heard stories already that it was similar to McDonald’s Sweet and Sour sauce mixed with the BBQ, but it was unquestionably less than the supposed sum of its parts.. The taste was familiar, but distant. What was this sauce? Then it hit us:
This is just Hoisin sauce.
That was it exactly. It tasted exactly like the sauce we would whip together with jarred grocery store Hoisin when making General Tso’s chicken at home. This is the kind of sauce you’d expect to eat at a wipe-down Chinese buffet between the Kung Pao chicken and the broccoli beef.
Though the sauce was a definite disappointment, we can’t say we hated it. The flavor was nice, and worked well with the Chicken McNuggets we had ordered to go with it. If you think most McDonald’s dipping sauces are too tooth-achingly sweet, you might like the slightly bitter, somewhat savory flavor of the Schezwan. But for something that has been hyped since April of last year, it wasn’t worth the wait.
2 out of 5 – Not Worth Trying
Really, McDonald’s, it took you nearly a year to get this stuff to stores? Even back in December, you could only distribute a few thousand? We could’ve gotten sauce identical to this at Walmart. The sauce itself isn’t terrible, or even really that bad, but the hype surrounding this has forced us to rate this a two out of five – just like Rick and Morty itself. Next time we will try just mixing the Sweet and Sour with BBQ.