Szechuan Sauce?

     By now, everyone has heard of the internet craze that is McDonald’s Szechuan sauce. With flavors inspired by southwestern Chinese cuisine, the sauce rose to infamy after an episode of the popular T.V. show Rick and Morty. McDonald’s brought back the sauce on October 7th, 2017 for one day in an attempt to appease fans of the show who were desperate to try some of the sauce. But where did Szechuan sauce come from?

     McDonald’s introduced its Szechuan dipping sauce in collaboration with Disney and their then new movie Mulan. The sauce was modeled after Szechuan cuisine’s spicy flavors and was an instant success among customers. The sauce was originally introduced in 1998 but was soon discontinued after the release of Mulan. However in the surprise premiere of season three of Rick and Morty on April 1st, 2017, the nostalgic sauce was referenced, causing an uptick in demand for McDonald’s to bring it back. McDonald’s brought back its Szechuan sauce in October 2017 in very limited quantities and plans to offer it in higher quantities in 2018. The sauce’s popularity and exclusivity has led people to pay astronomical prices upwards of $80,000 on eBay for just one packet of the iconic sauce.

     The taste of Szechuan sauce is based on traditional Szechuan cuisine. Szechuan cuisine was created in China’s Sichuan province in the Middle Ages. The fertile Sichuan Basin was the perfect location for the development of such unique flavors. The area’s topography shaped the area’s peculiar food style. Unlike other areas where herbs and mushrooms are more predominant, Sichuan’s mountains, hills plains and plateaus created an abundance rice and an assortment of vegetables. Pigs are still the most prevalent type of livestock, but cows are noticeably more common in Sichuan than the northern provinces. The people of Sichuan have learned to use almost every part of every animal from the tongue to the intestines in ways that bring out the unique flavors of Szechuan food. To preserve their food, the people of Sichuan used methods such as pickling, salting and drying that further enhance the taste.

     Other than the indigenous crops and animals of southwest China, Sichuan food incorporates ingredients from all around the globe. Since around the 16th century, New World influences have been making their way to Asia. From Mexico came what was possibly the most important part of Szechuan cuisine: the hot pepper. The spicy kick from peppers found its way into some of the most iconic Szechuan dishes like: authentic Kung Pow Chicken, Shui Zhu Beef, and Dan Dan Noodles. The traditional spicy Szechuan sauce pairs perfectly with almost any Szechuan dish and adds a nice fiery kick.

From an internet meme to the extraordinary food of southwest China, Szechuan cuisine has a lot to offer!

Sources and Recipes:

http://www.ruchiskitchen.com/recipe/homemade-szechuan-sauce-recipe/

http://mcdonalds.wikia.com/wiki/Szechuan_Sauce

https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/8/16445582/mcdonalds-szechuan-sauce-rick-and-morty

https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-food/chuan-cuisine.htm

https://www.chinasichuanfood.com/topics/chinese-recipes/sichuan-food/

There are 19 comments

  1. Caroline Strauss

    I knew that McDonald’s had Szechuan sauce but I did not know why they offered it or where it came from so this article was very interesting! I think it is very cool that McDonald’s offered it because now it is well known to many Americans.

  2. Nikki Woldar

    I never knew McDonald’s carried Szechuan sauce and how popular it has become. It is very interesting to see how a specific sauce from across the world has such a big impact and caused a craze in the United States. I learned a lot about where the flavors os Szechuan cuisine came from especially how the people have learned to use almost every part of every animal to create a more intense flavor. That is very cool!

  3. Daryn N

    Wow! This is so, so interesting. I, personally, am not a big fan of Rick and Morty, but I have friends who love the show. I think it is so exciting for them to have a little piece of their show come to life. It is also so great that China has this little influence on such a big part of American culture. Amazing article!

  4. Nikki Brotter

    I love the show Rick and Morty, so it made this article even more interesting. It is so cool how such a popular American show has pieces that originate from China.

  5. Ashley Silverstein

    Wow! This is so fascinating! It is crazy that Szechuan cuisine has so much to offer from an internet meme to the amazing food of southwest China.
    From an internet meme to the extraordinary food of southwest China, Szechuan cuisine has a lot to offer!

  6. Ashley Silverstein

    Wow! This is so fascinating! It is crazy that Szechuan cuisine has so much to offer from an internet meme to the amazing food of southwest China. This is crazy the sauce’s popularity has led people to pay up to $80,000 on eBay for just one packet of the iconic sauce.

  7. Spencer Gordon

    Even though I’ve my fair amount of research about the origin of the Mulan szechuan sauce I was intrigued by how there was still so much to learn.

  8. Alynah Ratansi

    I am extremely fascinated to see how the Szechuan sauce has become very popular, especially McDonald’s carries this item. While reading the article, I learned a lot about the Szechuan cuisine and the people of Sichuan love to use almost every part of every animal to create a unique taste for the people.

  9. Rona Cao

    I saw on social media that people went crazy just to get this sauce, but it’s too bad they only sold it for 1 day. I would try this sauce if it became available again!

  10. Meghna S

    I had heard of the craze surrounding due to Rick and Morty fans about Szechuan Sauce, but I wasn’t aware of the cuisine indigenous to the Sichuan province of China, other than how spicy it was. It was very interesting to discover that there are many pigs in the Sichuan region of China, and how they use every single part. Very informative article!

  11. Michael Lin

    Growing up eating many different types of Chinese cuisine, I enjoyed eating Szechuan food a lot because of they fiery burn in the food and the explosive flavor. It is wonderful to see an American food chain like McDonald’s introducing asian sauces into its food.

  12. Joanna

    Wow, I actually did hear about the craze surrounding the McDonald’s Szechuan sauce in the past, but had no idea it got so extreme that people were willing to pay $80,000 for just one packet! I hope it will be re-introduced in 2018 as you mentioned so that I can try the iconic sauce.

  13. Nathan Davis

    As a huge fan of Rick and Morty , I was immediately drawn to this article. I think it is interesting that the the geography of the Sichuan province directly influenced the flavor of the food that was made there. Reading about Sichuan cuisine makes me want to try more of it and learn more about the province that it originates from.

  14. Gordon W

    It is cool to hear that a traditional sauce based on the show Mulan did so well according to the customers. it is very exciting to see that they brought it back and I really want to try it.

  15. Jeff Qasemi

    Personally, I’ve always found this fad of Szechuan sauce as a joke. The reason being is that the tv show that referenced to it has comedic intentions. However, nonetheless this still interesting to know the beginning of Szechuan.

  16. Rohan Bhasin

    Wow! This sauce is so interesting! I can’t believe that McDonald’s collaborated with Disney’s movie Mulan. I still can’t believe that just a packet of sauce can go for $80,000.

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