KFC is testing mambo sauce in select markets

The limited test of the iconic D.C. area product is designed to introduce more customers to the sauce around the country.
Arsha Jones Capital City Mambo Sauce
Photo courtesy of KFC

KFC is bringing Mambo Sauce to a bunch of its restaurants.

The Louisville, Ky.-based chain said that it has started a limited test of Capital City Mambo Sauce in Atlanta, Dallas and the Washington D.C. area.

The test of “Sweet Hot Capital City” mambo sauce started on Monday and will run for a limited time. The company said that the test is to introduce more customers around the country to the sauce, which is popular in the Washington D.C. market.

The sauce comes from Capital City, a Black woman-owned business operated by Arsha Jones, who developed her own recipe for the iconic sauce after moving to the suburbs years ago. Ten years later, Capital City sends its sauce to customers around the country.

“KFC has given Capital City a huge opportunity to highlight a culture that many don’t get a chance to experience,” Jones said. “When visitors think of Washington D.C., they envision museums, government and politics, but there’s a huge community just beyond those few blocks that has a rich history filled with styles, music, lingo and food all our own.”

Mambo sauce in general has been a kitchen staple in the D.C. area since the 1950s. It was made famous by Black-owned D.C.-area chicken wing restaurants and features a sweet and hot flavor profile somewhat similar to a Chinese sweet and sour sauce.

Chinese and Korean carryout restaurants adopted the sauce in the 1970s and 1980s. The sauce can now be found in nearly every carryout restaurant in the city. Jones’ mission is to ensure the sauce’s legacy and taste are preserved.

“Arsha has created a successful business with this ridiculously delicious sauce,” KFC U.S. President Kevin Hochman said.

Customers can add the sauce at participating restaurants to any menu item for an additional cost.

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