Mumbo sauce or mambo sauce is a condiment found in Chinese carryout restaurants in Washington, DC and surrounding metro area. The red orange sauce is similar to a barbecue sauce or plum sauce but sweet and tangy, and is put on fried chicken wings, french fries, and fried rice. Its origin and ingredients are subject to great dispute. Most suggest the sauce is unique to Washington DC but it likely emerged from a barbecue restaurant in Chicago run by Argia B. Collins, Sr. Several references are made to it in the history of buffalo wings.
The trademark MUMBO name was first used by Argia B. Collins, Sr., for use in connection with a barbecue sauce he developed for his Chicago restaurant. Since at least as early as 1950, Mr. Collins and his business used this trademark, and his successor-in-interest, Select Brands, LLC, registered the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 25, 1999, Registration No. 2,247,855, . The MUMBO trademark has been used for sauces, and appears on labels as part of the phrase MUMBO® SAUCE. Some people have used the term "MUMBO SAUCE" in articles, internet blogs and advertisements for their sauce products, in connection with a sauce said to have originated in Washington, DC Chinese restaurants used on chicken wings, French fries, and fried rice. Select Brands has challenged such uses as incorrect and as potential infringements of its MUMBO trademark.
However, according to Capital City Mumbo Sauce, the sauce originated in a restaurant called "Wings-n-Things" in the late 1960s. Since Argia's Mumbo Sauce can be traced back to the 1950s (before it showed up at Wings-N-Things) it's speculated that the DC version is a transplanted version of the original Chicago sauce.
- Chowhound discussion on mambo/mumbo sauce
- Urban Dictionary Entry for mambo sauce
- Vargas, Theresa (July 16, 2011). "Mumbo sauce: The 2 words on everybody's lips". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2012.