12 Best Cheap Eats in Cairns

After just finishing the lap of Australia and returning to one of my favourite cities in Queensland, I craved some tasty and affordable meals.

Where could I find the best cheap eats in Cairns?

12 Best Cheap Eats in Cairns

After just finishing the lap of Australia and returning to one of my favourite cities in Queensland, I craved some tasty and affordable meals.

Where could I find the best cheap eats in Cairns?

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

We may earn affiliate commissions from websites we link to, at no cost to you. Click here for details.

cheap eats in cairns food featured

I set off on a fact-finding mission to them. I was happy to kick my appetite to full speed and taste this culinary gem to discover the best cheap eats in Cairns.

I’m happy to report that it was easy on my wallet and satisfying for my stomach. Are you ready to try the best cheap eats in Cairns, too?

Let’s Begin! 12 Best Cheap Eats in Cairns

1) Bagus Cafe – Cheap and delicious Indonesian food

best cheap eats in cairns fried rice
Best cheap eats in Cairns is all about Asian comfort food for me. This cafe has what you need, trust me.

If you’re craving a generous serving of the best Nasi goreng (fried rice), head to Bagus Cafe. This place cooks with love, and you can taste it!

Fried rice starts at $15.90; you can’t find cheap eats in Cairns that will beat the price and satisfaction you’ll get from this humble eatery.

Address: 149 Esplanade, Cairns City

https://www.baguscafe.info/menus

2) Ganbaranba – Best Ramen in Queensland!

best cheap eats in cairns ramen Ganbaranba
My favourite dish from this list of best cheap eats in Cairns – Ramen from Ganbaranba

If we have to start with my favourite cheap eats in Cairns, we have to start with this busy place I love.

Aside from the amazing and extensive list of ramen soups they offer, the gyoza and other menu items are all top-notch! The staff are awesome too, always so welcoming and polite.

Ramen is one of my favourite meals in the world, and eating here brings back memories of sitting in small ramen joints in Japan – it’s so damn good. Just go there, and you’ll know what I mean. 

A big bowl of Ramen starts from $12.95. If you need extra noodles, order some for less than $2.50. Yum!

Check out their menu on Instagram.

Address: 7/12-20 Spence St, Cairns City

3) Corea Corea – Best Korean food in Cairns

best cheap eats in cairns corea corea bibimbap
This bibimbap was awesome! This place earns its spot on the best cheap eats in Cairns for sure!

If you haven’t eaten much Korean food in your lifetime, this is where you should start. And if you know this cuisine well, then you’ll enjoy the food that Corea Corea dishes up!

This place made our list of best cheap eats in Cairns because that’s exactly what it is. Value for money? You betcha! You can order a delicious meal here starting from $13. Read reviews about Corea Corea on Tripadvisor.

Address: Level 1, Orchid Plaza, 58 Lake St, Cairns City

4) The Roti Shack – The best Caribbean food

This is a family run business serving the best Caribbean roti you’ll ever taste (at least until you visit Grenada or go Island Hopping in the Caribbean).

This handmade flatbread wrapped around a delicious mild West Indian curry will make you smile. Starting at just $13.00, the price will too! 

Check out the whole menu on the Roti Shack website.

Address: shop 4/93 Lake St, Cairns City

5) Rusty’s Markets – Japanese Special Combo Lunch

best cheap eats in cairns japanese food rustys markets
Japanese food doesn’t get much better than from this little spot located in Rusty’s markets.

Yum! That is all I said as I nodded my head (it’s what my body does naturally when I’m absolutely loving the food) and chowed down on this delicious tray of fresh Japanese food.

I highly recommend the Special Combo lunch at $15.50, but the udon noodle meals and sushi hand-rolls get my (many) nods of approval for the best cheap eats in Cairns too.

Address: 74B Sheridan St, Cairns City Located inside Rusty’s Markets Food Hall.

NOTE: Rusty’s Markets is only open for business on Fri, Sat and Sun from 05:00 – 18:00

6) Evo Burger 

Sometimes you just want to smash a good burger. If that’s how you’re feeling and you don’t want it to break the bank, Evo’s Burgers will satisfy your craving. Burgers start from $12.90, but I’d recommend ordering the Oink Oink Burger.

The Oink Oink comes loaded with bacon, cheese and this yummy relish. Recommended, and it’s especially good after a big night.

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.

Address: 105 Lake St, Cairns City

7) Meldrum’s Pies

best cheap eats in cairns meldrums pies
Sometimes you just crave a good Aussie pie. Meldrums has got you covered…so many varieties to choose from.

Craving a good Aussie pie? This is where you’ll find it. One of the most popular cheap eats in Cairns and an institution here,

Meldrum bakes over 40 creative varieties of the classic Aussie pie. From the standard steak pie to interesting flavours such as Caribbean chicken, pumpkin gnocchi or tuna mornay (fancy stuff). The best cheap eats in Cairns is all about good value – and Meldrum’s offers you this!

Prices start at around $7.50. What are you waiting for? Check out their website here.

Address: 97 Grafton St, Cairns City

8) Pho Viet Vietnamese Noodle Bar

best cheap eats in cairns pho vietnamese food
If you’re anything like me, you seek out a good pho in any city you visit. This place does a great one, for a decent price.

Great-tasting Vietnamese food at the right price. This list of cheap eats in Cairns wouldn’t be complete without Pho Viet Noodle Bar.

The Pho, starting at $16.90 is delicious, but my hot tip is to try the Viet’ Bun Nem Nuong (special grilled pork or beef on bamboo stick) mixed with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs and nuoc cham sauce. So good!

View their website here.

Address: 5/78 Abbott St, Cairns City 

9) Thi Thi Vietnamese Food Bar

best cheap eats in cairns bahn mi
Do I look happy with this Bahn mi sandwich? You bet I am! One of the best cheap eats in Cairns for sure.

My favourite sandwich of all time! And when it’s this good, and starting at just $8 for a roast pork Bahn Mi sandwich – you’ll be back time and time again! These ladies have you sorted.

The crusty Vietnamese bread is perfectly warmed and crunchy, and they fill it with all the usual suspects that come with any good Bahn Mi.

You’ll be transported back to the street foods of Hanoi in Vietnam in no time.

Address: 74B Sheridan St, Cairns City (Located inside Rusty’s Markets Food Hall) PLUS another location below.

NOTE: Rusty’s Markets is only open for business on Fri, Sat and Sun from 05:00 – 18:00

Address: Shop F/47-49 Grafton St, Cairns City

10) Imm Thai Cafe – Cheap and delicious Thai food

best cheap eats in cairns thai food
The best Thai food in Cairns. Right here..come and get it.

Who doesn’t love Thai food? Well, this is on my list of the best cheap eats in Cairns because Thai cuisine is one of my faves. For a generous serve of your choice of delicious Thai classic dishes, you’ll be loving life too! Mains are priced under $15 and believe me, you’ll enjoy every mouthful.

This will make you want to book that flight ticket and head to the country immediately! It shouldn’t surprise you that eating everything in this country is on my list of 15 Amazing Things to do in Thailand.

Read some reviews on Tripadvisor.

Address: 60 Abbott St, Cairns City

11) Mando – Cheap Korean food lunch specials

best cheap eats in cairns korean food
If you’re craving some cheap and tasty Korean food – you’ve found it! Best cheap eats in Cairns right here!

Starting at just $10.90, come here to enjoy some seriously tasty Korean food. This cosy little place located on Spence St in Cairns is great.

Their $10.90 lunch specials are a hit! Serving a variety of Korean rice bowls lunch until 2.30 pm, don’t miss out. Check out Mando FaceBook Page for more information.

Address: 14 Spence St, Cairns

12) Pho Street Cairns

best cheap eats in cairns pho soup featured
This pho tastes identical to the ones I’ve eaten in Hanoi, Vietnam. I love how food transports you like that! Best cheap eats in Cairns is all about this kind of food.

I guarantee you will follow your nose to this place if you search for the best cheap eats in Cairns.

You can’t miss it. The aromatics of that pho noodle broth are unmissable. Better yet, the cute little tables and plastic chairs out the front of this bustling cafe will give you flashbacks of travelling in Vietnam. 

Did I mention the food? These guys get a 5-star review from me. Affordable, memorable and delicious. 

Address: Shop 15, Night Market, 54/60 Abbott St, Cairns City

MY EXTRA TOP TIPS FOR DISCOVERING MORE CHEAP EATS IN CAIRNS

The more time you spend in this delicious city, the more cheap eats in Cairns you will discover. My top tip for discovering other amazingly affordable dishes here is to check out Orchid Plaza in central Cairns City.

This plaza has many Asian eateries that offer really good deals, and the food is on point! 

As mentioned above, Rusty Markets operates on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Some great snack options include fresh almond croissants or pastries from Frenchies Bakery or homemade Indian samosas just opposite for $3 a piece.

Also, if you’re a coffee addict like us, don’t miss one of the best coffees in Queensland from the ladies at Barista Sista. These girls know their coffee, don’t miss it. 

If you swing by Rusty’s Markets around 2.15 pm on a Sunday, you may pick yourself up a few bargains. The fruit and vegetable vendors are slinging cheap produce, so fill up your baskets for the week ahead.

And, if you’re lucky enough, you can grab some cheap sushi or perfect pastries at half the price. Perfect!

My last tip for more cheap eats in Cairns is to wander along Grafton Street in Cairns. This is the city centre, and this street has all the food options you can hope for. International cuisine at its best, for prices you’ll love.

Get Connected with eSIM

Get connected easily on your travels—buy an eSIM! It works like an app: buy it, download it, and get connected in minutes! It’s easy, affordable, and convenient. Keep your original phone number, too!

Use our code: RACHEL5045 to get $3 off your first purchase!

Best Things to Do in Cairns

Cairns has so many amazing things to do; the list is endless. CLICK HERE to see the best of Cairns’ activities and day trips.

Alternatively, my three favourite tours are listed below.

There you go! Twelve of the best cheap eats in Cairns, according to me!

This list may grow longer as I keep eating; however, please let me know in the comments below your favourite cheap eats in Cairns.

Travel Tips for Australia

We have many travel guides and tips for Australia—what a diverse country!

Australia is ideal for exploring with two wheels! If you plan to explore Oz, check out our best tips for doing the Big Lap of Australia 

Our complete guide to Great Keppel Island is all you need for the perfect island stay.

If you head back to the coast, we recommend that you visit Yeppoon and the Capricorn Coast. Check out the 15 Best Things To Do in Yeppoon, and don’t forget about the food. We’ve got you covered with the best places to eat in Yeppoon.

Our comprehensive itineraries for travelling in Australia include this Brisbane to Cairns Road Trip – the Best 14-day itinerary, our detailed Guide to Camping in Karijini National Park and the Ultimate Guide to Carnarvon Gorge.

We’re all about the food, too! Don’t miss these 12 best cheap eats in Cairns.

We highly recommend you visit the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands in Queensland; this is a special place!

If you’re after a unique experience, these five reasons why you need to Reefsleep on the Great Barrier Reef will do it.

If you’re visiting Australia on vacation, try these 12 classic Australian foods while you’re here and see if you can visit these iconic 30 Best BIG Things in Australia.

Do you plan to visit the Pacific islands? You’ll need our ULTIMATE guide to visit every country in the Pacific.

Furthermore, if you plan to travel longer after visiting Australia, these 21 cheapest countries to visit will make your hard-earned dollars stretch a bit further.

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Australia. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View options for eSIM in Australia.

If your travels in Australia are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM. The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

Want to travel around Australia with like-minded travellers? View the best deals on group adventures in Australia.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

Did you enjoy this article? Share it with friends and family!

Travel Planning Resources

✈️ Flights: We use Skyscanner to book cheap flights worldwide.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.com is our preferred platform for booking hotels and accommodation. We use Vrbo to book apartments and long-term stays.

🏥 Travel Insurance: We recommend Heymondo (Get 5% off Heymondo) & SafetyWing

🚌 Transportation: Trainline is the best website to reserve trains. We use Omio to book transport worldwide. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go. 

🚘 Car Rental: We use DiscoverCars to book rental cars worldwide.

👫 Group ToursG Adventures OR compare multi-day tours worldwide with Tourradar.

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only two platforms you need.

📚 Lonely Planet: The Best Range of Travel Guides & Ebooks, and FREE Shipping! (use code RACHELDAVEY10 for a 10% discount)

🎒 LuggageOsprey Farpoint 40L Backpack or Samsonite Luggage Range.

🛄 What to Pack: Don’t forget your Universal charger and a good power bank.  To help you pack the essentials, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers.

🐶 Become a House Sitter: Join Trusted Housesitters and enjoy FREE accommodation worldwide. Use our invite to receive 25% off your new membership.

💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE & Revolut are the best online accounts that let you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. Both are so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.

📶 Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination, and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product! Use promo code NOMAD15 for 15% off ALL eSIMs (new Airalo users only) OR use NOMAD10 for 10% off ALL eSIMs (for existing Airalo users)

✅ Check out our Travel Gear and Travel Resources for more valuable tips to save you money!

Tasty Food Adventures

Are you looking for more adventures?
See all articles about Australia

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Thanks for the info.

    Some of the places listed have increased their prices and are no longer as cheap as you originally posted.

    My suggestion is that it would be helpful if the business name was linked so you can simply click and go to the store’s site.

    Reply
    • Hi Gaia,
      You’re right, prices have changed quite a bit – thanks for the heads up. We’ve updated the prices to be as accurate as possible and linked to business websites and social media pages as you suggested. Thanks 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed