While the cheapest street food will typically be found at vendors outside of the city centre, for convenience sake, the easiest way to find delicious food at excellent value is along the Mekong River, in and around the bustling markets. Sure, the food here is sometimes slightly overpriced due to the central and popular location, but the amount of options and variety make up for that.
The Tha Sadet Market is a hotspot for grabbing a quick bite or drink. You’ll find a number of stalls selling barbecue, and others offering seafood straight out of the Mekong river. It’s easy to pair a daytime or evening stroll through the area with a quick meal or snack.
Alternatively, food that’s right for any budget can also be found along Prajak Road, slightly further from the riverside promenade. The surroundings aren’t quite as interesting, but the food is often slightly cheaper and still of excellent quality (from THB30 for rice and curry or a bowl of noodles).
For a truly unique Thai experience, spend an evening at the Nagarina Restaurant. This eatery sits over the water and offers nightly river cruises to the Friendship Bridge, so turning your meal into a full night event is simple and cheap. Nagarina serves delicious Mekong fish and traditional Isaan dishes, along with your regular Thai and vegetarian style meals. Anyone looking for authentic Thai with a flair for local fare should head here. Meals aren’t nearly as cheap as the nearby food stalls, but you won’t pay much more than THB200 for most menu items. There’s also a bar next door to enjoy a drink or two before or after dinner. (1111/4 Kaeworawut Road)
Western and International Food
For those seeking an international style meal, Nong Khai has you covered. Expatriate heaven, German Bakery, serves food you won’t often find throughout much of southeast Asia. Come here for huge breakfasts with eggs, sausage, and all the add-ons, or stop by for lunch to enjoy a very non-Thai ham sandwich. Make sure not to leave without dessert, though, as it’s one of the best things on offer here. Expect to pay less than THB40 for their bakery items. (Kaeworawut Road)
Cafes and Coffee Houses
For coffee or a light snack, stop by Hornbill Books and Cafe. We absolutely loved the atmosphere here, along with the wide range of nationalities sipping and reading throughout the day. You can come here to buy used books, many in English, or to simply take in a relaxing morning or afternoon. Located right next to Mut Mee Guesthouse (also on Kaeworawut Road), this cafe serves up deliciously simple pasta along with a good selection of coffee or tea. The chai tea is notably good, and an excellent companion to a new book.
Lastly, if you want to sit back and cool off with free internet and air conditioning, make a stop by Cake At Toey’s. This small bakery serves the obvious, but also offers decent cups of coffee if you’re tired of sacrificing on your caffeine quality. Toey’s is popular with tourists on the hunt for dessert, and while you won’t find five star food here, it’s worth spending a few hours with a light snack and drink to get some work done. We ended up coming back to this dessert spot several times while in Nong Khai simply because it can sometimes be difficult to find an air conditioned cafe with decent offerings on menu. We recommend stopping by at least once to try it out. (1135 Meechai Rd., Maung)