McDonald’s may have been wise to limit its previous releases of Szechuan dipping sauce: Reviews have been pouring in since the much-storied sauce made its highly publicized return to the menu on Monday, and they’ve been somewhat mixed, to put it lightly.
“It tasted mainly like corn syrup with maybe a tiny bit of Worcestershire thrown in,” wrote Eater reviewer Robert Seitsema of the “jaw-achingly sweet” condiment.
“You might just as well pour this Szechuan sauce on pancakes,” he concluded.
Business Insider’s Kate Taylor wasn’t quite as harsh, admitting that it was “tasty” enough to put on McNuggets but definitely not the “riot-worthy” sauce fans were likely expecting.
“There's not much to elevate the sauce over the run-of-the-mill sweet and sour sauce. It's good, but it's not great,” wrote Taylor.
Allison Sanchez of Uproxx gave perhaps the nicest review of the three, calling the Szechuan sauce “better than sweet and sour sauce” but “maybe not as magical” as she’d hoped. Her main complaint was that the sauce was “almost aggressively not spicy.”
“[It’s] like they’d leached it out for being too delicious. So it was just all sugar,” she wrote.
Twitter, on the other hand, was more divided by the sauce’s taste, with some customers describing it as “teriyaki sauce,” “old cigarette butts” or just plain “gross” …
… and others admitting that it was "not bad" or even “good,” but not necessarily great.
In other words, the reaction of the bespectacled gentleman in the video below — who purchased a single taste of the sauce for $10 back in October — now makes complete and total sense:
McDonald’s originally released its Szechuan dipping sauce as part of a tie-in promotion during the release of Disney’s “Mulan” back in 1998, but it quietly disappeared from the menu shortly afterward. Then, around April 2017, interest in the sauce piqued after a character on Cartoon Network’s “Rick and Morty” cartoon series professed his love for the discontinued sauce, and cited it as the impetus for all his time-traveling actions.
McDonald's later announced that the cult-favorite dipping sauce would be available for one day only — Oct. 7, 2017 — at participating locations. However, McDonald’s neglected to mention that each location would only have a very limited number of sauce packets, and quickly ran out. In some cases, the patrons became rowdy after learning of the shortage, and police were called to the restaurants to disperse crowds.
McDonald’s ultimately brought back the sauce — 20 million cups of it, to be exact — on Feb. 26.