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by Thomas Phippen

McDonald’s bringing back its famed Szechuan dipping sauce “would be a mistake” because reducing an entire country’s cuisine into one flavor is “problematic” and “disrespectful,” according to a writer for Inverse.com.

Rick and Morty, a popular Adult Swim animated show, dedicated part of its April 1 season 3 premiere to ask McDonald’s to bring back the Chinese-inspired sweet and sour dipping condiment created as part of a marketing gimmick for the release of Disney’s 1998 animated film Mulan. Many fans on the internet began tweeting at McDonald’s, asking for a reboot of a dipping sauce that disappeared 19 years ago.

McDonald’s responded to the show’s request vaguely on Twitter, but bringing back the sweet and sour sauce could dovetail nicely with the Disney’s live action remake of Mulan set to be released in 2018. But McDonald’s will have to weigh the cost of pleasing internet fans with that of offending Asian-Americans with “cultural and culinary reductionism.”

“In fact, rolling out Szechuan sauce with the original Mulan was itself problematic,” Yasmin Tayag writes in her article “McDonald’s Shouldn’t Bring Back Szechuan Sauce for the ‘Mulan’ Remake,”

When Mulan, and the McDonald’s dipping sauce, came out in 1998, “critics were less aware … of how the film collapsed millennia of complex Chinese history and culture into a flat, oversimplified pastiche,” Tayag writes. Or, perhaps “they just cared less.”

Szechuan sauce, Tayag contends, does not resemble the flavors of Sichuan, a region in central China, but rather condenses flavors found throughout that country. The story of Mulan does not even take place in Sichuan, meaning the name Szechuan sauce was likely picked not because of the flavors, but to make it sound more Chinese.

Just asking McDonald’s to bring back the sauce is “low-key racist,” Tayag said in a tweet.

Though Tayag admits that “nobody’s really sure what went into the Szechuan sauce formulated by McDonald’s,” or what it actually tastes like, recreations by hobbyist chefs who actually tasted the sauce “remember it being sugary sweet, salty with soy sauce, and tangy with rice wine vinegar or sake.”

That would make the sauce more similar to the sweet and sour sauce common in American-Chinese food, which is far different than any food served in China.

Pairing that American-influenced Chinese sauce with Mulan is a problem because “there’s nothing American-Chinese about Mulan, a legendary girl who grew up in China centuries before America even existed,” Tayag says, and  “the last thing Asian-Americans need is a sauce to obscure the diversity of their cultures in the same shade of faceless, nationless, Western-approved brown.”

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  • IceTrey

    If that’s the case does that mean no more General Tso’s Chicken?

  • Pingback: Soylent Green: The Solution to the Inherent Evils of Culinary Appropriation – Liberty Fur All()

  • Gaz Hs

    Yasmin Tayag, a ***Filipino*** taking it upon herself to
    defend Chinese culture from ‘cultural appropriation’ (I guess she thinks
    Chinese can’t stick up for themselves). Perhaps she should actually go
    to China (where Filipinos are treated like absolute sh*t by the way) and
    ask a few of them what *they* think about this. I can already tell you
    the answers will range from “wtf? how is this any of your business?
    shouldn’t you be cleaning someone’s apartment in HK?” to “go back home
    to your third world shithole and stop bringing AIDS to my country, no I
    don’t care if you were born in Canada, by the way f*ck off from our
    islands”.

  • white szechuan fan

    Fack off M8, you’re the reason we as a society can’t progress.
    By that logic, I guess all mexican food is just Taco Bell.

  • Harrison Jaegermeister

    No it’s not problematic. It’s delicious, more people want it = more money. You are just an idiot. hoping for clicks on your article for a minimum wage. you are pathetic.

  • Joe Png

    Look at me. Look straight at my eyes motherfucker. I’m a fucking Chinese from Singapore and none of these bothers me one bit.

    Seriously, quit being a fucking baby and stop this politically correct nonsense. 9 more seasons Morty. 9 MORE SEASONS TILL WE GET OUR MULAN SAUCE DIPPING SAUCE

  • MatFan

    The SJW’s will never stop complaining — even after they get everything they want. Historically, the SJWs are only stopped by a left-wing totalitarian dictatorship. They are the first ones killed since they are no longer needed and contribute nothing.

  • Person with COMMON SENSE

    Dude, the sauce in no way would be racist. For example: say a new Chinese restaurant opens up on the street. It is run by a white person and they also serve american drinks, like Coke or Pepsi, in your eyes that’s racist. Or at least that is what the article explains you f***ed up moron.

  • matt

    know what else is racist denying American actors a part in the Mulan movie because they’re not Asian but oh no you’re all cool with that aren’t you not only cool with it but personally required it apparently or the movie would be boycotted get over yourself it’s not low key racist it’s called marketing not about Asians it’s about McDonalds making a shit ton of money for a product people are asking for.

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