Sunday 29 July 2012

Know your Great McDonald’s Curry Sauce Saga: A trilogy

Yesterday, my teenage son returned home from McDonald’s with some McNuggets.

I asked him if he got the curry sauce. He said no.

“What?” I was outraged. “They didn’t give you any sauce?”

My son said, “They asked me if I wanted any sauce and I said no.”

“What?” I was shocked. “You said no?”

He said, “They looked kind of shocked when I said no.”

They must look like what I looked like at that moment.

I wasn’t sure if he was acting blur or was really blur. Was he not aware of The Great McDonald’s Curry Sauce Saga?

So for his benefit and others who may be as blur as him, here’s a little history lesson.

Part 1: The Fellowship Of The Sauce

Last November, McDonald’s in Singapore unexpectedly ran out of curry sauce.

And thus began The Great McDonald's Curry Sauce Panic of 2011.

Fear of a McDonald’s curry sauce famine spread throughout the land. Many went online to express their anguish.

“Is it true about the death of the curry sauce?”

“What are we going to dip our fries and nuggets in and mix chilli sauce with?"

“It felt as if the world lost a shade of brown.”

“Took a picture of the curry sauce in my fridge. I know it's expired, but hey, now it's an even more opportune time to keep it for memory's sake, right?”

“It’s more saddening than the death of Steve Jobs.”

But as it turned out, reports of the discontinuation of McDonald's curry sauce were greatly exaggerated.

The fast-food chain released this statement:
“Due to unforeseen supply issues, our stores are currently experiencing a temporary shortage of curry sauce.

“We assure our customers that we are doing our best to bring in stocks of curry sauce and these will arrive from the US by the end of next week.”
And thus The Great McDonald’s Curry Sauce Panic of 2011 was over. The crisis was averted… or so it seemed.

Unknown to fans of the sauce, their precious would never be the same again.

Part 2: The Return Of The ...Wait, Why Does It Taste Different?

True to its word, McDonald’s brought back the curry sauce in a brand new packaging by the next week. Fans rejoiced!



Then they tried the new sauce.

“I tried last Saturday ...told my family curry sauce was more diluted and tasted different, a bit too sweet. Not the old taste, so sad.”

“I compared it with the old curry sauce that I kept in the fridge, and it also tasted different!”

“What type of curry they use for curry sauce, fish curry? Mutton curry? Chicken curry?”

The answer is... soybeans?

McDonald’s released another statement: “From time to time, we do make minor tweaks to our sauces in response to changing tastes or to improve the quality of the product.

“Our curry sauce now comes in an attractive new packaging and no longer contains peanuts – which is great news for some allergy sufferers.”

The company added: “We hear your comments on the consistency of the sauce and we’ll be discussing this with our supplier.”

But many diehards couldn’t accept the change.

“The new curry sauce has a charred taste! Bring back the old curry sauce please!"

What would McDonald’s do next? Does Batman really die in the end? Oops, wrong saga.

Part 3: The Dark Price Rises

To reduce wastage, McDonald’s last month started a trial in 30 outlets where after you were given your ration of dipping sauce for your McNuggets, if you wanted more sauce, you would have to pay 30 cents for each additional packet.

This also applied to the oft-forgotten BBQ and sweet and sour sauces, but to many, this was an assault on their right to a free unlimited supply of a sauce that seven months earlier, they had rejected and demanded the return of the old recipe.

Mmm, can you taste the irony?

“PUI! If I have to pay for the sauce, then I will bring my own bottle in the future! And you better not disallow me using it in ur store!”

“Sad to know McD is implementing such a money-making policy in the name of wastages to destroy the good thing about McD all these while. Just disappointed... I hope this trial will end immediately and never repeat such mistakes again. I will minimise the visit as long as the trial is on-going.”

But despite the complaints, on Monday, McDonald’s announced on Facebook that this 30-cents policy is now islandwide.

Once thought to be extinct, then resurrected and abhorred, curry is the new gold.

The circle is complete.

So I tried to explain to my son why when he is offered free curry sauce at McDonald’s, he must always say yes.

He then opened the fridge and showed me the shelf overflowing with packets of expired McDonald’s curry sauce.

“That’s why I said no,” he said.


- Published in The New Paper, 29 July 2012

EARLIER: Phew! The Great McDonald’s Curry Sauce Crisis of 2011 averted

2015 UPDATE: 2015 curry sauce crisis over

2016 UPDATE: McDonald’s Curry Sauce available in limited edition take-home bottle