Police called in when US McDonald's outlets run out of 'Szechuan' dipping sauce

The sauce was brought back in limited quantities over the weekend, but quickly sold out.
The sauce was brought back in limited quantities over the weekend, but quickly sold out.PHOTOS: TWITTER/@FAWICH, SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

It brought back the cult-status "Szechuan" nugget dipping sauce to please fans of the 1998 limited-edition condiment, but America's fast-food chain McDonald's faced backlash when customers kicked a fuss over short supply and police were called in some instances.

The dipping sauce was released in McDonald's outlets in the United States in 1998, as part of a promotional tie-up with Disney's Mulan film, which was released that year.

McDonald's first announced that it was bringing back the sauce - ancient versions of which sold for exorbitant amounts on eBay - on Friday (Oct 6).

The sauce went viral again this year after Cartoon Network and Adult Swim cartoon, Rick And Morty, referenced the sauce in its first episode of its third season, released on April Fool's Day.

It led to a petition on Change.org asking for the sauce to be brought back.

McDonald's released the dipping sauce in limited quantities on Saturday in participating outlets across the US, CNBC reported on Sunday.

However, the chain underestimated the popularity of the sauce, as outlets ran out quickly, leaving customers unhappy.

One Twitter user posted a video of an angry crowd demanding the sauce outside an outlet.

Other photos on social media show customers holding up signs asking for the sauce.

Some who secured the precious substance turned to eBay to sell it - again for sky-high amounts, up to US$995 (S$1,356.65).

McDonald's (US) addressed the situation on Monday, posting a statement on Facebook promising "lots more #SzechuanSauce and locations".

"Our super-limited batch, though well-intentioned, clearly wasn't near enough to meet that demand," it wrote. "Szechuan Sauce is coming back once again this winter. And instead of being one-day-only and limited to select restaurants, we're bringing more - a lot more - so that any fan who's willing to do whatever it takes for Szechuan Sauce will only have to ask for it at a nearby McDonald's."

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The US craze over Szechuan sauce - which Chinese netizens from the actual Sichuan province have said tastes nothing like local Sichuan sauce - can be likened to Singapore's fervour for McDonald's curry sauce.

In June 2015, Singapore's McDonald's announced the return of curry sauce to outlets, after a four-month absence due to congestion at US ports.

The report was received warmly by customers, with more than 2,700 likes on The Straits Times' Facebook page.