Empanadas and samosas are truly fried pastries. Knishes are baked, but still with a thick dough. Jamaican patties come out flaky even crisp on the outside, and they're a delicious snack at Aunt Susan's Kitchen in Laurel.
Aunt Susan's Kitchen offers the closest Jamaican takeout for Howard County, along with American comfort foods and a few vegetarian dishes that trend Indian. There are a few tables to eat there, but most people seem to come in for carry out like jerk
chicken, fried fish, oxtail stew, or curries. The entrees comes with side dishes that range from greens to rice, green beens to macaroni salad.
On my last trip, I tried goat. Not something I cook at home, and the meat came out tender and flavorful. The curry is spicy and balanced nicely with sauteed cabbage and the collard greens. I ate a huge dinner and still had enough to carry for lunch the next day. For me, Aunt Susan's is worth the drive for something unusual like the patties or the oxtail stew that I'll try on my next visit. But I watched several people walk out with real basics like fried fish. You can get the full meal or a fish sandwich on coco bread.
(Update: Check out the comments where Jeremey and Bets each recommend other Jamaican places in Laurel -- Island Flavors and Red Snappaz. I'm adding them both to my list.)
If you want Jamaican takeout but live north of Columbia, consider Golden Krust in Catonsville. The takeout in the same shopping center as the H Mart serves up nice patties, other takeout and even Jamaican-style ice cream.
Aunt Susan's Kitchen
15101 Baltimore Avenue, Ste 111
Laurel, MD 20707
NEAR: Aunt Susan's Kitchen is just east of U.S. 1 near the intersection with Rte 198. It faces onto Rte 198, although you can only reach it from the north-bound lanes of U.S.1. From Howard County, you need to take U.S. 1 south past the Five Guys, then U-turn back onto north-bound U.S. 1 and turn into the last parking lot before the Rte 198 intersection. Turn left on a little access road parallel to U.S. 1, and Aunt Jenny's is on the corner of a shopping center that also includes Indian groceries at Eastern Bazar.