In a recent interview with BBC, Carlson recounted her initial journey to Hanoi in 2019. She had been invited by some friends who teach English in Vietnam and had planned to spend a few months exploring and immersing herself in the country’s life and culture.

However, her love for Vietnamese cuisine and her experiences traveling throughout the country persuaded her to extend her stay in Vietnam instead of returning to the US, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through her blog on TikTok and Instagram, now known as The Fat Passport, Carlson creates English-language content to showcase her food-related experiences in Vietnam to foreigners and tourists.

During her three-year stint in Vietnam, Carlson and her friend embarked on culinary adventures in every corner of Hanoi to discover the city’s best food.

One of Carlson’s early viral videos during Hanoi’s social distancing measures featured the iconic dish “pho.” In the video, she wears a face mask like a local and shares insights on how vendors package “pho” for customers to take home. This fresh perspective on “pho” fascinated viewers from around the world and garnered 5 million views.

Thanks to her charming and humorous approach, Carlson not only offered a different view on “pho” but also provided a glimpse into life amid COVID-19 in Vietnam.

While popular Vietnamese dishes like banh mi, bun cha, and coffee are already widely known, Carlson believes many other dishes deserve greater recognition. Her personal favorite is “banh cuon” (a steamed rolled pancake).

Even though she is no longer residing in Hanoi, Carlson still yearns for the city and its beloved “banh cuon,” as she revealed during her interview with BBC.

Carlson attested that Vietnam’s street food scene offers an abundance of choices that are fresh, quick to prepare, and healthy.

She emphasized that Vietnam’s street food is a unique aspect of its culture and not commonly found elsewhere in the world. During her time in Vietnam, she would indulge in street food at least twice a day, if not more.

Vietnam provided Carlson with exceptional culinary experiences, and she aims to share her love for Vietnamese cuisine with everyone, encouraging them to try the diverse array of Vietnamese dishes.

The American actress also expressed her intention to return to Vietnam in the future and create more content about the country. She looks forward to indulging in her favorite dishes once again and exploring new culinary delights.