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Editor's Note: Jodi Noffsinger, an American living in Beijing, is filing regular updates on the scene at the Olympics in The Beijing Blonde column on

If it's food you're after at the Games, there are slim pickings at Olympic venue concession stands but plenty of beer. Because visitors aren't allowed to bring in food, it's impossible not to make a stop at the Olympic concession stand, as lines have proved.

Besides the limited food choices, there's also little that reflects Chinese tastes, except for the cup of dry noodles and crispy rice. Olympics fans also can choose from popcorn, chips, sausage, bread, cake, biscuits, yogurt, ice cream and Snickers.

But some Chinese don't seem to mind the menu. At Wednesday evening's soccer match at the Worker's Stadium, Zhang Lin, a 10-year-old Beijing resident, sampled one sausage and liked it so much he returned and ate four more.

For Americans used to stadium prices, five sausages might set you back more than $25, but here in China the price was only15 kuai, or just $2.21. In fact, nothing cost more than $1.50, so despite few food choices, ordering one of everything would still cost less than $10.

I asked Zhang Lin's mother if she was bothered by the selection of food not reflecting Chinese tastes. She said not really since kids like her son are accustomed to eating Western foods at popular chains such as KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

She added that to have dumplings, or jiaozi, as they're called here, didn't seem very practical since most people eat these more in the winter months, plus it would be messy, she thought, since dumplings are typically dipped in vinegar and soy sauce.

But while Chinese food might be missing from the menu, China's favorite drink — beer — is not. China is a nation of beer drinkers, topping the world as both the largest producer and consumer.

According to a recent article in the China Daily, last year total beer consumption in China was 39 billion liters, up almost 14 percent from 2006. Here at the Games, China's top seller, Tsingtao, along with Yangjing and Budweiser, are offered since they are all Olympic sponsors.

And if the food seemed cheap, the beer is the best deal here. It costs the same as soda, just 73 cents — A cause for celebration by the group of young American guys sitting behind me at the USA vs. Nigeria soccer match as they ripped off their shirts leading the Chinese in a round of "Zhong Guo Jia You!" (Go China) cheers, showing everyone the drunken revelry of American sports fans.