Young and Hungry

Did Mumbo Sauce Exist Before D.C.’s Asian-Run Carryouts?

The exact origins of D.C.'s indigenous condiment—mumbo sauce (also called "mambo" and even "mumble")—are murky at best. The typical journalistic backgrounder goes something like this: some people maintain it is the District's own invention; others believe it is actually descended from a type of barbecue sauce in Chicago. Over at WaPo, Y&H alum Tim Carman learns from "an old fogey Washingtonian" that the mysterious chicken wing dipping sauce may have predated the contemporary Chinese carry-outs that popularized it: "Could it be that mumbo sauce has developed on two separate tracks — one based on an older African American mumbo sauce and another based on the sweet-and-sour version that followed later on?"

Photo by Chris Shott

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