FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Ooh 3/8 Aaah 3/8 Ummm 3/8 Look 3/8 Beautiful 3/8

The 1992 Culinary Olympics, running from through Friday in Frankfurt, are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate - and fierce competition for teams of chefs from 30 nations.

Scores of long, broad tables loaded with elegant displays of fine foods are lined up in the Frankfurt fairground halls.

There's Australia's ''Leek and Yabbie Pie - a wedge of baby leeks and Australian yabbie tail.'' Then there's ''Praline of Kangaroo - prosciutto with bush melon layers and bean curd.''

Check out the artistic work of Hong Kong's team of chefs, whose cold platter display called the ''World of Ballet'' features rice-dough ballet figurines on platters containing everything from tangerine creme to red bean and Cantonese vegetable cake paste. They got a gold medal.

In the Olympic tradition, the competition is tough.

The U.S. and Canadian teams are always great competitors at this event, with takes place every four years in Frankfurt. But while Canada was doing well, the United States ran into problems this year.

Hubert Schmieder, the chef instructor at Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., who is accompanying the U.S. team, said defective kitchen equipment foiled the Americans in their hot food competition Sunday.

That slowed down serving the meal and turned the gold medal they had held for 12 years to silver in the category, he said.

''At an airport you would say 'due to technical difficulty this plane will be delayed a half hour,' and it's three hours. When people are sitting at a table and are hungry they don't listen to any excuses,'' he said.

''The judges are standing there and looking at you for every mistake you make. Until Sunday we were for 12 years the world champions in the hot cuisine and this was just a glitch,'' Schmieder said.

''If you drop a gold medal in any of the categories you're pretty well out of it for first place,'' said Maurice O'Flynn, manager this year for the Canadians.

O'Flynn said his team had thus far won three gold medals.

''We're ahead right now and I think we can win it, but the judging is very picky,'' he said.

O'Flynn, who has taken part in international cooking meets since 1983, said the Canadians were currently tied with Singapore and Switzerland but that under a complicated points system, his team was still leading.

Canada was heading into its hot food portion of the Olympics today, and the outcome of that was crucial to taking first place, O'Flynn said.

The Canadian entree for the hot meal was listed as ''Apple Wood Smoked Pheasant Breast,'' lined with sweet basil and rosemary and served in its glace with sun-dried currants.

Vegetables included potato lasagna, baby leeks, savoy cabbage and carrots.

A dessert called ''Manitoba Wild Rice Croquant,'' filled with rhubarb butter and garnished with a chocolate owl and blackberry coulis, rounded out the offer.