In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat, coating all sides of skillet.
Once oil is warm and shimmering, add pork and cook until all sides are browned.
Add garlic, sautéing for a minute, until garlic becomes fragrant.
Add soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaf, pepper and water, stir ingredients together and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and let pork simmer for 45 minutes or until tender, being careful so as not to let pork dry. Add 1/2 cup of water at a time several times to keep pork moist and tender and to achieve the desired amount of sauce.
In the last few minutes of simmering, stir in brown sugar or honey.
Serve over rice, salad or stir-fried vegetables and enjoy!