President Books
麥當勞的故事

四. 🌶 沾醬

《芝加哥論壇報》報導,1998年為了配合動畫片電影「花木蘭」上映,麥當勞在美國推出「四川辣味沾醬」。繼川菜名揚四海後,四川再一次藉著辣味,跟美國沾上了邊。

一般的沾醬是速成的,味道遠不如老北京炸醬麵的醬。老北京炸醬麵採用豆瓣醬與五花豬肉丁,經小火慢慢煎熬。要有耐性,不得添糖、不加辣椒,才能熬出天然醬香。曾經滄海難為水,對我來說,吃過老北京炸醬麵後,所有的沾醬都算聊備一格,湊數用的。

2017年初,美國動畫影集「瑞克與莫廸」(Rick and Morty)將當年的川味辣醬畫進了影片,因而勾起許多人的回憶。經社群網站的熱烈討論,麥當勞於同年10月7日,以限店限量的方式讓當年風靡一時的川味沾醬「重出北美江湖」。

沒想到,此款川味沾醬引發搶購風潮,當天全數售罄,進而引發徹夜排隊未果的民眾走上街頭抗議。據說拍賣網站上,一包沾醬甚至喊價到995美元(約7,500港幣)。麥當勞透過「我們要沾醬」(We Want the Sauce)的網站發表聲明,於2018年2月26日在美國各地再度推出高達2千萬份的辣味沾醬。

那一年我私假赴美,飛抵美京杜勒斯機場。下機後,直奔麥當勞,買了炸雞塊及「四川辣味沾醬」。大概香港住久了,太長時間沒有吃「港式辣椒」之外的辣椒;也許因為飛行時間太長,吃完後,連屁股都感覺辣辣的!


The McDonald's story

4. 🌶 Spicy recollections of a Sichuan sauce

According to the Chicago Tribune, a spicy dipping sauce was released in McDonald's outlets in the US in 1998 as part of a promotional tie-in with the Disney animation Mulan. For a brief time, Sichuan was connected with the US through its famed piquant dressing after its cuisine was made known overseas.

The sauces we normally use are ready-made and so in my opinion there is no comparison with the sauce for "traditional Beijing noodles with fried bean sauce" that I am more familiar with. This latter flavour is made with bean sauce and diced pork belly pan fried by oil over a low heat. While admittedly the long, slow cooking process tests one's patience, the absence of sugar and spicy peppers brings out the natural flavour so much so that once tasted other sauces seem like mere decoration.

In early 2017, the cartoon series Rick and Morty reintroduced the Sichuan sauce to the US, triggering people's recollections. Prompted by heated discussions on social media, McDonald's decided to revive its Sichuan dipping sauce for a one-day promotion on 7 October later that year, but only in limited quantities at certain locations.

No one anticipated that such a commotion would greet this one-off promo! Some fans who'd lined up overnight were outraged when stores ran out. Some customers even protested in the streets. Not only that, a packet of Sichuan sauce is said to have sold at one time on eBay for as much as US$995 (HK$7,500).

Because of the craze, McDonald's launched the website "We Want the Sauce" early 2018 and announced that 20 million packets would be available for an extended period starting 26 February 2018 at all McDonald's restaurants in the US.

I flew into the US on personal leave that year. After I disembarked at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., I went straight to McDonald's for Chicken McNuggets with Sichuan dipping sauce. Perhaps I had experienced only chili peppers served locally in Hong Kong for too long or perhaps it was the long flight but I could certainly feel the burn in my butt after the meal.

 

28 December, 2020

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