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Where are your “must-try” Mumbo Sauce spots?

by Prince Of Petworth June 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm 49 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user anne marie hathcock

“Dear PoPville,

I recently read an article in DCist titled “Mumbo Sauce is the Blood that Keeps DCs Heart Flowing.”

Ed. Note: Despite this question, which I believe is genuine and comes from a good place, the white people in the above video are not representative of all white people in DC. Some are quite fond of Mambo sausages Mumbo sauce. The video is of course real people but almost Portlandian in the portrayal.

I’ve never had mumbo sauce, nor even seen it offered. I’ve heard about it, and seen articles, but I have never come across it.

I can’t say I’ve ever actively looked for it, but I can’t say that I actively avoided it either. I’ve just simply never seen it offered anywhere. From what I understand, it’s mostly found at take out/carry out places, and I’ve been to a few over the years, to no avail.

Was wondering if readers had any suggestions of must-try places that offer it!

Be sure to tune in next week for our tutorial on Go-go.

  • I think Danny’s is pretty much the standard: sweet with a little heat. Some places skew too much like bbq sauce. Wings & More Wings on Bening Road is good, but my favorite is Mid Atlantic Seafood. It’s there at the condiments pumps. Get their wings/whiting and go nuts.

  • MadMax

    The video / viewpoint was trying entirely too hard. DC keeps trying to find -something- to be nationally known for, as if being the center of government power and one of the largest museum collections in the world was just too high-brow. Mumbo sauce isn’t bad, but it’s just basic condiments swirled together. I’ve had it at Yum’s on 14th and regretted it, Hong Kong Carryout’s and Tony’s Breakfast versions are better but still I would much rather just have buffalo sauce. The Pitch had a decent version a few years ago (haven’t been back so can’t confirm) but was really only better because it had some fire when most others tend to focus on sweet. All that sugar just doesn’t make sense on chicken for me, same with Hip Hop Fish & Chicken that puts a ton of sugar (which is why people equate it to crack) in their seasoning / breading blend. Then again, I didn’t grow up here, so maybe it’s different it’s that’s how you learned to like fried chicken. We always had bottles of hot sauce instead in the south.

    • I’ve found that it works best with saltier chicken, but I tend to go with hot sauce instead.

      I get the impression that it’s transplants who want DC to have some “signature” regional food thing, like NY slices or Chicago hotdogs. I think the natives don’t really give a damn what the rest of the country thinks about our food.

      • MadMax

        Your last point is entirely possible, as most of the journalist I’ve met who obsess over this kinda silliness are not from here. Hip Hop’s chicken was pretty salty, so the sugar wasn’t as bad, but I wound up having to drown it in hot sauce to balance it out still.

        • Bob Sacamento

          Dc regional food is chicken wings with mumbo sauce end of story. For better or worse people definitely grow up on it. And frankly I think your out of your mind to think regular hot sauce is better than mumbo sauce. But I grew up here.

    • Blithe

      Like, Half-smokes and Go-Go aren’t enough? Lol.
      – fwiw, I did grow up here, and have always preferred hot sauce — starting with old-school Crystal, to the sweet stuff. My view is that good fried chicken doesn’t need sauce though, so the hot sauce and the tartar sauce is mostly for fried fish — which used to be a lot easier to find back in the day. (Real fried fish, like porgy and spot — not frozen squares of whatever.)

      • MadMax

        You can still get the real stuff at Horace & Dickies! And I agree, good fried chicken doesn’t need hot sauce (when I make it at home I never use it, because there’s loads of cayenne in my seasoning).

        • Blithe

          Thanks for the recommendation! I love Horace & Dickies! I still need to try Fish in the Hood though. And it’s been years since I’ve been down to the wharf — so maybe I’ll add that to my summer fun list.

  • soulshadow55

    Yeah, it’s been around D.C. carry-outs since the 1960’s.

  • Tania Jackson

    Henry’s on U Street. Probably as close as you can get to the Wings & Things original.

  • samanda_bynes

    uhh…Tony’s got good stuff.

  • Ben

    Small Fry serves it with their wing order. Not sure how it compares but it has a kick

  • Hill Denizen

    I’ve lived in DC for nearly ten years and have never even tried it.

  • dlabog

    Capital City Mambo sauce is sold at random stores around town or online. I like the sweet heat cause its actually sort of spicy unless you’re a real chili head. Plus having a bottle at home means you’re always covered when you’ve got chicken.

  • bubbles

    Ted’s Bulletin uses it on their chicken and biscuits appetizer & entree. It is the only place I’ve had it, so I don’t have a real frame of reference, but I liked it.

  • That One Guy

    It’s questions like this that warrant a POP YouTube food channel to answer. Ha.

  • Anon Spock

    I’ve gotten it accidentally once. Tasted it and was not a fan. But every carryout I’ve visited has it if you ask.

  • Nancy

    I’ve never seen or had it either. Just one more confirmation that I’m no longer hip or cool. Just old :).

    • P

      Mumbo sauce is not hip, nor is it for the young or for the old. Mumbo sauce just is.

      • Gumball

        Was about to post the same thing, P. It’s just mumbo sauce. It has been here “forever”. LOL

        • Nancy

          As have I :).

  • Mo

    The owner of the new Sporty’s restaurant on Benning Rd at 25th Place is also owner of a mumbo sauce kitchen and distributor to local restaurants. I believe that’s up on Georgia Ave somewhere but is sold at lots of places. He has his original bottles at Sporty’s.

    • JJ

      I’ve been wondering about that place. Is it any good?

      • Mo

        Yeah, it’s not bad. They do pretty nice sandwiches and burgers and have a hot bar. Their fried fish and greens etc was pretty good. Definitely an improvement for that corner.

  • Gallery Place NW

    HOWARD CHINA on Georgia Ave. I once paid them $5.00 for pint of sauce to take to New York City just to introduce to some friends.

  • AntiAlias

    I was curious myself, and got a bottle of Capital City Mambo sauce, which you can get online, or at a few stores (I think I got it from a meat vendor at Eastern Market). It comes in two varieties, regular, and a mild version, which is what I got since I’m a wimp about spicy food.

    I tried it at home with some leftover chicken and I liked it. It’s especially good if the food’s a bit dried out since it adds some flavor and moisture. I’m not sure whether it’s worth all the fuss, but I thought it was pretty good stuff and I’d buy another bottle when I run out. I also tried a BBQ dish at the DC state fair that used Mumbo in it as an ingredient, and I thought it made for a nice addition.

  • jim_ed

    Tony’s on Kennedy (which I believe is owned by the same people as the “bad” Tony’s on H) has the best as far as I’m concerned. More heat than sweet, nice tangy taste. Terrific on eggs as well as wings. Yum’s carryout on 14th is a good one to try if you want to get a median sense of mumbo sauce citywide.

  • El Sok

    The Mumbo sauce at China Town in Mount Pleasant is pretty solid. 2 pieces of chicken and fries/rice for 5 bucks #winning.

  • Gumball

    I just kind of assumed it was at every Chinese carryout in the DC area. I’ve never had to look for mumbo sauce so I’d be surprised if I went to one and they didn’t have it. I’d be like where am I? Baltimore??

  • Liz

    I get mumbo wings from wingos- love it.

  • Truxton Thomas

    I had it once on a chicken sandwich at Tonton Chicken, at Vermont and K NW downtown. It was pretty good. More sweet than heat. I never eat at the cheap Chinese joints after one experience ended badly, so I don’t come across it often. It’s reassuring to know that others share my inexperience.

  • That Man A

    This post is quite hilarious being from here bahahaha
    just go to a carry out… some are darker than others, some are a brighter red/orange whatever color you consider it lol, some have more spice while others have a bit more tang, and some are runny while others thicker

    • dcd

      Isn’t that the point of the post? It’s all different; where’s the best?

      • That Man A

        its always been about personal preference
        not who has the “best”
        its just funny to see… there has never been a golden standard for the sauce… everyone just made theirs and either you liked it more or less than the next

  • Brooklyn Brawler

    This is easy; GOOD HOPE carryout on Good Hope Road SE. The best mumbo sauce in the city. Has a spicy BBQ sauce/vinegar/ketchup taste. Thick too not watery or thin. I stand 1000% behind this!

  • ANON

    Slash run keeps it on the tables, always good on the fries and wings there.

    • Bob Sacamento

      Try Chinatown in Mt. Pleasant its very good. Its also super addictive.

  • Nikki

    Stan’s on Vermont and L- Wings w/ Mambo Sauce are the best in town.

  • ThinkTanker

    I know that you can get it from Mayflower Chinese in Tenleytown, but I don’t think it’s on the menu and only know you can because someone ordered it while I was waiting for it. I’m anxious to try it since talking to one of my friends who is a native while visiting in San Diego.

  • KGA

    The Hamilton uses Mumbo Sauce on their fried chicken wings…..AH-MAY-ZING. We also gave away Capital City Mumbo Sauce to our out of town guests at our wedding 🙂 Nice treat for anyone looking for authentic DC things to present that aren’t touristy or political.

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