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Hamel and his mates were subsidized by the state.
This subsidy was provided from the king's income upon their exile in Jeolla Byeongyeong.

While they received rice of fixed quantity, they had to look for other things for their sustenance.

They had to wander over the mountain or beg so they have something to prepare for their meals and provide for their other necessities
According to Hamel's record, a new military commander who came on Nov. 1657,rejected their request on the ground that he had never been ordered by the kingto provide them anything except for the 50 geun of rice.

Despite their earnest request that was not granted they have to look for themselves to address their own personal needs.

Although they received or bought a house, there is no record that they involved in activity of producing something to eat. Probably because of their situation or living conditions, they could not involve in any active production activity such as farming.
But, the record says that there was a small garden in their house in Byeongyeong, they might grown their own vegetables.

Hamel and his mate worked as slave labor or miscellaneous affairs ordered by the commander. Also, they provided their labor, told stories in farms or temples. They even went begging to earn money with permission to go out for a while.


According to Hamel's record, they were warmly received by Buddhist monks. Buddhist monks were very interested in foreign things and custom.

It reflects that hey became proficient in Joseon language enough to sell their adventure stories.

Since they received a very small quantity of rice and were restricted in their free time, they lived in bad circumstances. Sometimes, they complained to a commander about 'their difficulty because they only eat rice, salt, and water. '
In reality, they might have encountered so many difficulties. They are unfamiliar with foreign food in a foreign country.

While the principal food of Netherlands is mostly powder food processed by grain, Korean food are mostly boiled or peeled grain.
Such difficulties in their eating food might have contributed more problems to them during their stay in Joseon.

Nevertheless, their lives in poverty in Byeongyeong, filling up their stomachs might take precedence over choosing a nice food. Moreover, their lives in Jeju and Seoul for three years might greatly help them adapt to traditional Korean food.
The principal food of Gangjin people was Doenjangguk(bean paste soup) and boiled rice and cereals with a variety of Kimchi.

Hamel and his mates often had to eat only rice with salt added, they might often beg traditional Korean food, such as Kimchi, Guk and Tang(a kind of soup and broth) in farms or temples.

Occasionally, they might be invited to villages' or soldiers' parties because of their foreign looks they get ac chance to eat/taste fish, meat, Tteok(rice cake), or Buchimgae or Jeon(fried food) with some traditional drinks such as Soju, Jeongjong, or Makgeolri.

Some who were familiar with women or built a home could sit down to table with women's best wishes.

They might bought novel meat or fish by money they earned.

Their records mentioned about fish a lot maybe because Byeongyeong was a trading center for all kinds of goods near the coast.
Sometimes they might have hunted for hares or roe deers in Mt. Suin where they often went to look for firewood.

Since their home is famous for dairy farming, they might wanted to drink milk. Didn't they try to milk cow or goat held in leash in a field by stealth?If Korean people heard that they milked cattle to drink, how did they feel ? surprised and marvelous?
Imagine an embarrassed gestures with the clumsy use of chopsticks, and surprised expression of eating hot Kimchi?

It had been a bad year for the rice crop 3 years before their escape. Hundreds of people starved to death and thieves ran about widely in groups. To fill up famished stomach, Hamel and his mates had to eat traditional food our ancestors used regularly to overcome the difficulty of a bad year such as wormwood, acorns, arrowroots, or cabbage roots.

Hamel and his mates used to wander about the forest to look for something to eat before they got separated to different places.







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