Rick Sanchez’s favorite dipping sauce will return for one day only and at only one Iowa location. — Left: still from the Adult Swim show Rick and Morty. Right: photo courtesy of McDonald’s on Twitter.
Rick Sanchez, the not-quite hero of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, can access an infinite number of universes, but there’s only one thing he really wants: the special Szechuan dipping sauce for McNuggets that McDonald’s made to promote the 1998 Disney movie Mulan. During this season’s premiere episode, which aired on April’s Fool Day, Rick vowed he’d get his hands on his beloved sauce, even if it took nine seasons. Fortunately for fans eager to try the stuff, they’re not going to have to wait that long.
McDonald’s announced on Oct. 1 — the day the Rick and Morty season finale aired — they would resurrect the now-famous Szuechuan dipping sauce at select restaurants for one day only: Saturday, Oct 7. An Iowa City McDonald’s is one of the select few, according to a McDonald’s website.
An official website lists the Iowa City McDonald’s at 804 S Riverside Dr as the only Iowa franchise where fans will be able to get the sauce. Management at the Riverside location confirmed this, reporting that they only received 20 packets and 20 commemorative posters. Starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, the first 20 customers to order chicken tenders will receive a single Szechuan sauce packet; the next 20 will get a poster. Fans hoping for a taste of the coveted condiment are encouraged to arrive and line up early.
Even though the Szechuan dipping sauce was available only for a short time in 1998, it apparently made an impression Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, creators of Rick and Morty. The sauce was given an important, if small, role in the highly-anticipated third season premiere of the top-rated comedy.
In the episode, genius dimension-hopper Rick Sanchez enters a virtual memory of 1998, in order to go through a virtual McDonald’s drive-through and order a 10-piece McNugget and “a bunch of the Szechuan sauce — like, as much as you’re allowed to give me.” Later in the episode — following a prison break, multiple mind swaps and Rick’s casual destruction of a galactic empire — he reveals to Morty that his only real motivation in life is getting his hands on the discontinued delicacy.
Despite this dramatic declaration, the sauce gag seems to have been a one-time joke; it was not mentioned again in the following nine episodes of the season. But in the age of memes and super-fandom, Rick and Morty viewers have kept the joke alive online, even starting a petition asking McDonald’s to bring back the sauce.
McDonalds responded to the craze on Twitter, and in late July, sent the creative team behind Rick and Morty a personalized bottle of Szechuan sauce. It’s unclear whether this batch, or the packets soon to be distributed nationwide, are the same recipe as was used in 1998.