Paksan isn't a renowned culinary destination and some might find the going a little tough.
It's a typical transit town with loads of noodle shops up and down the main road, closer to the bus station than where most of the accommodation is located.
Just next to the bridge are two restaurants opposite each other. One is called the Sporting Assocation restaurant and the other Saynamsan. Both serve up similar Lao dishes such as stir-fried pork and basil, chicken curry and fried rice. They can sometimes get a bit noisy when drunks hop on the karaoke and you might be forced to choose one place over the other based on noise levels.
Another option is to head down the road to the Mekong past BK Guesthouse. Choose any one of the dozen or so restaurants serving anything from barbecue meat to Lao salads; be warned however that we spotted barbecued dog meat, with two unfortunate canines in cages nearby.