Is it Mambo or Mumbo??? What is Mambo Sauce and how do you spell it.

Is it Mambo or Mumbo???

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Is the delicious sweet, spicy, and tangy patron sauce of D.C. spelled MAMBO or MUMBO? It’s the question everyone has who is familiar with the historic condiment in the DMV.

Well, to answer this most question, we have to first get into the history of the sauce. 


What is Mambo/Mumbo Sauce and where did it come from? 

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 restaurants. In the 1940s and 1950s, Collins opened a group of rib shacks around Chicago, all featuring his creation Mumbo Sauce. His daughter, and current President of Ariga B. Brands, said in a Chicago Tribune article, "My father was among a group of black men who saw starting a business as a way to improve their community.” Collins goes on to say, "The sauce is more than about barbecue, it's a cooking sauce. It was also a way to help build the black community." With demand from the community, her father decided to bottle and sell his secret sauce. Over the decades, other food purveyors in Chicago offered their versions of the sauce in their establishments, stands, and BBQ pits. 

The perfect stocking stuffer or small gift for friends and co-workers. The Swiss Army Knife of Hot Sauce.

mumbo sauce argia b

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.


So what about D.C.?

Legend has it that Mumbo made it’s way to Washington D.C. sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s at a restaurant called Wings-n-Things.  Overnight, Washingtonians took to the spicy nectar. Mambo then began showing up on the wall menus Chinese carry-outs that dotted the corners all over the city. It was a different D.C. then, by the 1970’s  Chocolate City (D.C. nickname) was over 70% African American. Mambo sauce has been here ever since. Seeing the assassination of MLK and riots that burned down a lot of the city from that civil unrest. Mambo sauce has endured as a symbol of culture, community, and flavor in the city. Which is why exactly why we call our brand Sauce City, USA. Mambo brings us together and it tells a story.


Where do you see Mambo today?

You’re typical corner carryout in D.C.

You’re typical corner carryout in D.C.

Nowadays, you can see Mambo on the menus of fancy gentrified shiny corporate restaurants, BBQ shacks, and Chinese carryout all across the DMV (D.C. Maryland, Virginia). Because of the trademark settlement, you won’t see the spelling “MAMBO” on any commercially packaged and sold version of the sauce. But, you will still see spelling "MUMBO" in articles, internet blogs, and the original Ariga B. Brand of the sauce.

Classic carryout staple. Fried rice and Mambo Chicken Wings

Classic carryout staple. Fried rice and Mambo Chicken Wings

No matter how you spell it, it spells d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. If you find yourself in Washington D.C., make sure you go out of your way to get the authentic Mambo Sauce experience at a Chinese carryout. You can find them downtown, uptown, and everywhere in between. For the Mecca of Mambo and carry-outs, we recommend you hit Georgia Ave., a street that stretches from Shaw in central D.C. (the historic 14 and U St. corridor area where you will see the still alive heartbeat and rhythm of “Black Broadway”.)  We have lived on Georgia Ave. almost our entire time here in the city. You will see Howard University, the crown jewel of HBCU’s, live music, historic black-owned businesses, and of course dozens of carry-out to get chicken wings, French fries, and fried rice and Mambo Sauce. Bounce around, enjoy the city, and compare all the different versions of Mambo Sauce!


You are now ready to Mambo (or Mumbo)

Thanks for taking a minute to learn about our favorite sauce and it’s rich history. We would love it if you visited our online shop and picked up a 3 pack of our (becoming famous) Mambo #1. It’s a 3 pack so you can share it with friends. You also get a discount on the bundle! Sauce City, USA is the only business making Mambo Sauce 100% fresh and with all local produce. Typically, Mambo Sauce is made simply with hot sauce, bbq sauce, soy sauce, and ketchup. You can try making it at home! Our Mambo has over 20 ingredients and has backyard fire-roasted produce. It’s a labor of love and not cheap to produce.. But, we set out to not only make the best Mambo Sauce but to also make the best hot sauce in America. And we did that. We know you will love it and put it on literally everything.


Please do us a favor and tell us how much you love Mambo #1 by tagging us in your Sauce-capades on Instagram. #mymambo.


Love yall!!!


-Chef Branden

Owner, Sauce City, USA