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The Most Famous Sauce in McDonald's History Is Coming Back Next Week

The iconic item will make a rare appearance alongside Chicken McNuggets.

McDonald's is tapping into the vault of all-star limited-time menu items, but it isn't to bring back the McRib as customers speculated. Instead, the chain has announced the return of its most popular and rare dipping sauce.

The Szechuan Sauce, which has only been available a handful of times during the last 24 years, will make a short appearance on the menu starting on March 31. Customers will be able to enjoy it while supplies last. And if history teaches us anything, that won't be very long.

mcdonald's szechuan sauce
Courtesy of McDonald's

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The sauce was first created by McDonald's in 1998, as a tie-in product for Disney's cartoon Mulan. However, the launch of the sweet and spicy sauce caused some controversy, thanks to the racial stereotyping used in its promo ads. A protest campaign, started by a Chinese-American student at Cornell University, said of the whole thing: "You don't even have to be Chinese to be offended."

However, the sauce managed to garner a cult following all the same, thanks to its addictive flavor achieved with a combo of soy, garlic, ginger, and mild vinegar.

"Szechuan sauce tastes like if you took a classic suburban American Chinese restaurant's sweet-and-sour chicken and mixed it with some soy sauce and maybe a hint of sesame," Business Insider reporter Kate Taylor wrote of the legendary sauce in 2018. "It's goopy, sweet, and very salty—and, in its own right, it's a pretty tasty option . . . You'll want to keep on dipping."

The Szechuan sauce had its first comeback in 2017, prompted by an entirely different cartoon. An April 2017 episode of Adult Swim's Rick and Morty mentioned the long-gone item, which spawned a renewed interest in it, with fans even starting petitions for its return. McDonald's obliged but gave fans a very limited taste in October of that year—the Szechuan sauce was only available for one day. Then again in 2018, the chain released some 20 million packets of the sauce nationwide, some of which can still be purchased on the internet today.

So you might say this fourth reappearance is a rather big deal. This time around, the sauce will be available exclusively on the McDonald's App, as a free dipping sauce option accompanying Chicken McNuggets or for purchase of up to five packets a la carte. Happy dipping!

Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more