Cut entire head of garlic in half through the center “equator” , it's OK if some bulbs detach. You don't need those.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch Oven over medium heat. Place the 8 chicken pieces in the pan with the skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes until golden brown, then flip with tongs and cook the other side for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate.
Add the vinegar, soy sauce, water, sugar, bay leaves and garlic too the pot. Bring to a simmer then turn down to low, stir so the sugar dissolves. Season with pepper.
Return the chicken to the pot skin side up. Cover and cook the chicken carefully and gently. Adjust the heat to maintain barely a simmer. Turning pieces once during cooking time. The dish is done cooking when the chicken is very tender and pulling away from bone. It should not be falling apart. Cook for 35–40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
While the chicken is cooking, cook the rice to package directions.
Serve the chicken over the rice and tip with chopped green onion and chopped cilantro. Spoon any extra sauce over the chicken and rice.