ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Kyoto Fifth Taste is the first restaurant in the Charlottesville area, and among the first in the country, to offer fermented food on its menu.

The restaurant in Rio Hills Shopping Center has been open since 2005, but it added fermented food to the menu this summer. 

The restaurant also recently changed its name to reflect the taste of umami, the fifth taste. 

Studies have shown that fermented foods have health benefits, as temperature control allows microbial enzymes to break down the food, allowing for better digestion. 

"I think fermentation is the future cuisine. It's kind of new, a lot of people don't know it, but it's healthy, especially for senior people," said James Lee, who has owned Kyoto Fifth Taste since 2015, as well as a number of other restaurants. "I'm getting older, so I need to get this healthy food too, so I try to spread this idea."

Chef Michelle Chang came to the United States, specifically to Charlottesville, from France to help Kyoto Fifth Taste add fermentation options to the menu. Chang opened the first fermentation restaurant in France in 2017 and hopes to bring fermented cuisine to more people.

"Fermented cuisine is the future, we want something more healthy for ourselves, so I think, I hope, it's going to happen," she said.

Chang published a cookbook, "Ma Cuisine Fermentée," which is currently only available in French. She hopes to one day publish it in English.

Kyoto Fifth Taste is located at 1864 Rio Hill Center and is open Monday through Saturday between 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.